Ukraine's ousted leader Viktor Yanukovich has sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting that he use the Russian military to restore law and order in Ukraine, Moscow's U.N. envoy said.
Under the influence of Western countries, there are open acts of terror and violence. People are being persecuted for language and political reasons. So in this regard I would call on the President of Russia, Mr Putin, asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine.
– Letter from Yanukovich to Putin, as quoted by Russian UN envoy
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin quoted the letter in an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.
During his speech, Churkin held up a copy of the letter for council members to see.
A Russian news organisation has reported that Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovich has been seen in a Moscow hotel and is now staying in a Kremlin sanitorium just outside the city.
Russian news agencies are reporting that Russia has agreed to ensure his personal safety.
"In connection with the appeal by president Yanukovich for his personal security to be guaranteed, I report that the request has been granted on the territory of the Russian Federation," a Russian source was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
After being voted out of his presidency by MPs last week, Yanukovich's whereabouts have been unknown.
The United States has suggested that it no longer recognises ousted Viktor Yanukovich as Ukraine's president, after Russia expressed doubts over the legitimacy of the interim leadership.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that although Mr Yanukovych "was a democratically elected leader, his actions have undermined his legitimacy, and he is not actively leading the country at present".
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: "Yanukovich left Kiev. He took his furniture, packed his bags, and we don't have more information on his whereabouts. So there are officials who have stepped in and are acting in response to that leadership gap at the moment."
Ukraine's interim interior minister revealed that an arrest warrant had been issued for the ousted president.