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Former Ukrainian President's Treason Trial To Resume


Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

KYIV -- The in-absentia treason trial of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is scheduled to restart on August 15.

It is expected that Ukraine's former ambassador to the United Nations, Yuriy Serheyev, will testify at the hearing.

Yanukovych, who is currently in Russia, announced last month that he would not participate in the trial, claiming that it is politically motivated, and dismissed his lawyers from the case.

The court then decided to hold the trial in absentia and provide Yanukovych with a state-appointed lawyer.

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 instead improve trade ties with Moscow.

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 Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014.

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