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Ukraine’s deposed ex-President Viktor Yanukovych said he’s still the nation’s rightful leader and urged Russia to refrain from military intervention in the southern Crimea region, where unrest spread.

Speaking for the first time since leaving Ukraine, Yanukovych told reporters today in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don that the country should abide by a peace accord sealed a week ago with European Union diplomats under which he’d remain leader through December. He labeled the parliament in Kiev illegitimate and vowed to return when it’s safe.

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