In his hourlong news conference, Yanukovych accused the interim authorities in Ukraine of propagating violence. He spoke against a backdrop of Ukraine's blue-and-yellow flags before reporters in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don about 700 miles south of Moscow.
"I never gave any orders to shoot," he said, adding that he sought peace and that the security forces took up arms only when their lives were at risk.
Yanukovych is wanted in Ukraine on charges connected to the deaths of demonstrators, who were protesting his decision to scrap a European Union trade deal in favor of one with Russia.
Armed men at airports
Back in Kiev, Andrii Parubii, chief of national security and defense, said Ukrainian military and police forces had stopped Russian military forces from seizing two airports in the Crimean region.
The Russian military is on the outside of both airports, Parubii said in a televised news conference from the Ukrainian parliament.
Weapons were not used during the operation, according to Avakov, the interior minister.
Russian armored vehicles were moving toward Simferopol, the regional capital, on Friday, the Ukrainian news outlet TSN reported.
Men in military uniforms had been seen patrolling the airport in Simferopol, as well as a military and civilian airbase in nearby Sevastopol since early Friday.
Avakov said the armed men at the Sevastopol air base were troops from Russia's Black Sea Fleet, stationed in the port city. They were in camouflage uniforms without military insignia, he said.
The presence of the armed men has not affected the Simferopol airport, civil aviation authorities said.
"We are checking to make sure that no radicals come to Crimea from Kiev, from the Ukraine," said one man outside the airport, who didn't give his name. "We don't want radicals, we don't want fascism, we don't want problems."
Other men outside the airport, dressed in black rather than military fatigues, said they belonged to the pro-Russia Unity Party and had come on the orders of the new Crimean administration -- voted in Thursday after armed men seized regional government buildings.
Concerned about the latest developments, Ukraine's parliament passed a resolution Friday that demanded Russia halt any activity that can be interpreted as an attack on its sovereignty.
Moscow alarmed some observers by announcing the surprise military exercises Wednesday in its western and central areas, near the Ukraine border.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's largest telecom firm was unable to provide data and voice connectivity between Crimea and the rest of Ukraine because unknown people had seized telecommunications nodes and destroyed cables, it said Friday. There is almost no phone connectivity or Internet service across Crimea, said Ukrtelecom, which is the only landline provider.