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On his last meeting with Yanukovych in Kharkiv
On February 22, 2014, President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych had a working visit to Kharkiv. Last time I saw him on this day in the early morning. After that, I followed my program, while he followed his. We did not meet before his departure.
On the situation in Kharkiv in February 2014
The main confrontation took place in Kyiv and in other regions. As for Kharkiv, with few exceptions, the situation was more or less calm, although by that time there were already attempts to block the military units. According to the information from various law enforcement agencies, there were attempts to seize all kinds of institutions and organizations where weapons could be located, and such facts have already been massive in Ukraine. Due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the law enforcement officers who could provide civil security were sent to other regions and in Kharkiv, there was a limited number of them, we have attracted cadets to protect the building of the regional state administration.
On the readiness to assault Regional Administration
At this time, we realized how quickly the storming of the building or the attack could take place, how fast buildings burn; we removed all the carpets, fire protection sleeves were spread, additional fire extinguishers were brought. Excessively high fire safety measures were taken, as one of the instruments of the protesters were the Molotov cocktails, which burned a huge number of people who performed their professional duties, protecting people and state institutions.
On protests in Kharkiv
Immediately on February 22, according to the leadership of the civil bloc of the heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kharkiv region, we received information that people from Poltava, Dnepropetrovsk, Lviv, Kyiv, and Cherkassy arrived in Kharkiv. With the exception of Lviv, basically, these were people from Kyiv, central Ukraine and the nearest regions with Kharkov. According to various sources, from 5 to 12 thousand young people traveled by different modes of transport. They all gathered together next to the Sports Palace, where the Congress of deputies of local councils was held. I cannot say how many of them gathered there, but there were thousands of them. It was not 100 people, not 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 or 5,000 - it was impossible to count them because at that time the police were making the last efforts to divide this group of people from the one who came to support the event without attending the congress. The meeting was previously planned, the application was for 7 thousand people.
On Yarosh and the assault of Mezhyhirya
Yanukovych said that Yakymenko (ex-head of the SBU, - Ed.) to switch him to Yarosh (ex-head of the far right organization "Right Sector", - Ed.). After a short time, he was handed the phone, he talked, as I understood, to Dmytro Yarosh. They were talking about some agreements on the fact that Mezhyhirya's buildings would not be attacked. Some 30 minutes have passed and the information about the attempted assault or seizure of Mezhyhiria was not spreading anymore because the people had not reached Mezhyhirya. The next threats were already directly connected with the building of Kharkiv regional administration, where he has spent almost the whole night with me and other people, and in the morning we moved away. I have never seen him after that. He had the second call because the even greater number of people was moving to Mezhyhirya. At that time, the guard was no longer there, it was only, perhaps, more about property issues. He talked to Yarosh (through Yakymenko) for the second time. But I realized that this second conversation was unsuccessful because after a while I found out that those people had come to Mezhyhirya.
On the agreement between Yanukovych and the opposition on unblocking buildings
First of all, I have learned about this agreement from the media, because, like millions of my compatriots, I watched on TV what was happening, and when Yanukovych came in, he told me in detail about his great personal victory, reached by the signing of this agreement. He also said that he has got the guarantees on the implementation of this agreement. I cannot repeat word for word, but as far as I understood, the top leadership of the two states, the US and Russia, guaranteed that this agreement would be implemented. He received some alarming signals from Kyiv during the night – via media, Internet, and some personal calls; at some point, he has got a little intense state and told to call Yatsenyuk. He was switched to Yatsenyuk, he talked to him and expressed his complaints about the fact that he (Yatsenyuk – Ed.) did not keep his word and did not carry out the part of the agreement. As far as I understood, Yatsenyuk or someone else had to stop people’s blockade of the main state buildings in the government quarter in Kyiv.
On the threat to Yanukovych’s life
If you want to hear from me that Yanukovych was not threatened by physical danger, I will not tell you that. He was threatened, with every minute of stay in the territory of Kharkiv region. We just tried to do a good job. (Were the organized measures enough?) Not in full. If the necessary measures were carried out in full, first of all, explanatory works would be conducted at the approaches to the Palace of Sports. So that no one with a weapon in hands (with bad intentions) would approach the building, where 7 thousand unarmed people gathered. And those people, whom I speak about, were armed (including small arms).
I was a witness of a telephone conversation with one of the leaders of Crimea, who cursed one of his subordinates because the state security of Crimea (as I understand it) fled and was not ready for the visit of the head of state. Therefore, the president had no security at all. In Kharkiv, of course, we could ensure a higher level of security than in Lviv, and especially in Ternopil.
On the situation in Kharkiv after Yanukovych’s escape
March 1, I was in Kharkiv. In the morning we found out that a spontaneous meeting was going on, I went to this meeting, we gave a speech. After that, I had a one-day trip to France. I actually spent the whole day either at a rally or in an airplane. After my return, I had problems with the prosecutor's office, and a few days later I was arrested. Therefore, starting somewhere around February 27, I was more involved in preparing for the future election campaign and did my personal security affairs, because everyone was telling "Dobkin should be killed, hanged, blown up". On February 27, I had a conversation with someone from the new administration.They called me and said to write a statement on the resignation. I refused, but I could not go to the administration, because it was completely blocked. I did not want to provoke a conflict by unlocking operation. I did not follow the statements.
On the status of Crimea
I have not been there since 2013, so how can I say? From the very first day, I have recognized Crimea as the territory of Ukraine, but as a citizen of Ukraine, I stopped being able to come here. When Yanukovych served as a president, I used to visit Crimea every year. As soon as Turchynov became acting president, and then Poroshenko, I lost the opportunity to travel to Crimea, like many of my compatriots.