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Yanukovych Treason Trial Adjourned Until December

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych talks during a press conference in Moscow in February.
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych talks during a press conference in Moscow in February.

The treason trial of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in absentia has been adjourned until December 4 after his new lawyer asked for more time to prepare.

In an October 26 ruling, Obolon district court judge Vladyslav Devyatko granted a request by Yanukovych's new state-appointed lawyer, Ihor Lyashenko, for additional time to get acquainted with the case.

It was not immediately clear why Yanukovych's lawyer was changed.

Lyashenko is Yanukovych's third state-appointed lawyer since two lawyers who had represented him withdrew from the case on July 6, saying that Yanukovych had informed them that he did not need their services anymore.

Yanukovych announced that day that he would not participate in the trial, charging that it is politically motivated.

Yanukovych abandoned his office in late February 2014 and fled to Russia in the face of protests triggered by his decision to scrap plans for a landmark deal with the European Union and improve trade ties with Moscow instead.

Dozens of people were killed when his government attempted to clamp down on the pro-European protests known as the Euromaidan.

Prosecutors are seeking life imprisonment for Yanukovych, who is accused of treason, violating Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and abetting Russian aggression.

After he fled, Russia seized Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and fomented opposition to the central government in eastern Ukraine, where the ensuing war between Kyiv's forces and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 10,000 people.

With reporting by UNIAN and Ukrayinska Pravda
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