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MOSCOW — The southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don is bracing for an influx of reporters and photographers after reports that Ukraine’s ousted President Viktor Yanukovych will give a press conference there Friday.
Russian news agency Itar-Tass and RT, the Kremlin’s English-language international satellite TV service, reported on the press conference, with the latter saying the location of the event set for 5 p.m. local time Friday, would be announced later.
Journalists covering events in Kiev were scrambling to work out how best to get to Rostov. One British journalist posting on a Facebook site for Moscow-based reporters, wrote: “Anyone considering making a dash for this press conference from Kiev tomorrow if a) it is happening and b) it’s open to all? Flights through Moscow look a mess, anyone know how long/difficult the drive from Donetsk to Rostov by taxi? Big border queues? And any info on possibility of accrediting for this mythical presser?!”
The media focus on finding Yanukovych, who fled Kiev last Friday leaving empty his opulent 345-acre country estate, has become a top international story.
Over the last two days the focus switched from the Crimea, in southeast Ukraine to Moscow, where the renegade president, accused of mass murder by an interim government in Kiev, was said to have surfaced at the city’s swanky Radission Royal Hotel Ukraina, where the Presidential Suite costs $11,000 a night.
Hotel staff Thursday told The Hollywood Reporter that Yanukovych had not been there.
“We have no information on whether he will be a guest in the near future,” a hotel receptionist said.
Itar-Tass said Thursday that official Russian sources had told it that the security of the ousted president had been reportedly ensured on Russian territory “in connection with the fact that President Yanukovyich appealed to the Russian authorities.”
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