Published Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 | 6:03 a.m.
Updated Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 | 6:03 a.m.
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP) — Fugitive Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych is pledging to fight for his country's future but says he will not ask for military assistance. It is his first public appearance since disappearing from Ukraine.
"I intend to keep fighting for the future of Ukraine," he told a news conference Friday in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
Yanukovych said he supports Crimea's residents who are worried about "nationalists" in Kiev but that use of force is "unacceptable."
"Any military action in this situation is unacceptable," he said.
Armed gunmen took control of the two main airports in the strategic peninsula of Crimea Friday. Russia denied involvement.