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Yanukovych's Treason Trial Adjourned Until August 3

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych denies the charges. (file photo)
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych denies the charges. (file photo)

A Ukrainian court has adjourned Viktor Yanukovych's in-absentia treason trial until August 3 after the former president's new lawyer asked for more time to prepare.

In a July 12 ruling, Kyiv court Judge Vladyslav Devyatko granted state-appointed defense attorney Vitaliy Meshechek's request for a few weeks to get acquainted with the case.

Yanukovych's previous lawyers, Vitaliy Serdyuk and Ihor Fedorenko, withdrew from the case on July 6, saying 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 was politically motivated. The court then decided to provide him 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 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
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