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Yanukovych Treason Trial Adjourns Until June 29

  • RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

Viktor Yanukovych's lawyer, Vitaly Serdyuk, said his client was eager to take part, but Ukrainian authorities were making it impossible.

The treason trial of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was quickly adjourned after formally opening on June 26 in a courtroom in the capital, Kyiv.

Judge Vladyslav Devyatko adjourned the case until June 29 after Yanukovych, who is in Russia, did not show up in the courtroom.

His lawyer, Vitaly Serdyuk, said on June 26 that Yanukovych was eager to take part via video link, and "testify according to norms of international law." But Ukrainian authorities, according to Serdyuk, were not making this possible.

During the preliminary hearings, which started on May 5, Yanukovych's defense insisted that the court must formally ask Russia for assistance to set up a video link for his client.

The court has rejected the request, saying Yanukovych can take part via any video link available on the Internet -- meaning that a formal request is not needed.

Yanukovych abandoned 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 Euromaidan protests.

Yanukovych 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 separatism in eastern Ukraine, where a war between the government and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 10,000 people.

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