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Preliminary Stage Of Yanukovych's Trial Resumes In Kyiv

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (file photo)

KYIV -- A court in Kyiv has resumed hearings in the in-absentia treason trial of former President Viktor Yanukovych.

Yanukovych's lawyer Vitaliy Serdyuk again asked Judge Vladyslav Devyatko to formally request that Russian authorities set up a video-link for his client, who is in Russia.

Devyatko rejected the lawyer's request, saying that the court had ruled earlier that 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.

The preliminary hearings started on May 5 and were adjourned twice as Yanukovych's defense continued to insist that the court must formally ask Russia for assistance to set up the video-link.

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