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Ukrainian Ex-President Yanukovych Reportedly Injured Ahead Of Kyiv Court Hearing

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Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (file photo)

A lawyer for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych says that the ex-leader will not be able to make a final statement to a Kyiv court in his treason trial because of an injury he reportedly sustained on November 16.

Ukrainian attorney Oleksandr Horoshynskyy said on November 18 that Yanukovych received emergency treatment at a Moscow hospital on November 16 for suspected injuries to his spine and one of his knees.

Horoshynskyy is one of two lawyers representing the exiled Yanukovych at his trial in absentia in Kyiv.

Prosecutors in Kyiv are seeking life imprisonment for Yanukovych on charges of high treason, taking deliberate actions that violated Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and complicity with Russian authorities.

The Ukrainian judge in the trial, Vladyslav Devyatko, has scheduled November 19 for Yanukovych to make his final statement in the case via a video link from Russia.

"I arrived at the hospital and we talked" on November 17, Horoshynskyy said, adding that the two "exchanged a few words" about Yanukovych's November 19 hearing at Kyiv's Obolon district court.

"Of course, he can take no part in the hearing for health reasons," Horoshynskyy said. "I cannot reveal the exact diagnosis, but I saw with my own eyes that the man cannot move."

Earlier on November 18, Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reported that Yanukovych was treated at the intensive care unit of Moscow’s Sklifosovsky Research Institute of Emergency Medicine on November 16 and had since been transferred to a private clinic.

That report did not specify the name of the private clinic where Yanukovych was transferred or include information about his current location.

Sources told Komsomolskaya Pravda that Yanukovych’s injuries were thought to have been sustained during a tennis game.

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

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

Yanukovych's ouster was soon followed by Russia’s seizure and forcible annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and by Moscow's support for pro-Russia separatists fighting against Ukrainian government forces in eastern Ukraine.

Horoshynskyy is one of two lawyers representing the exiled Yanukovych at his trial in absentia in Kyiv.

Prosecutors in Kyiv are seeking life imprisonment for Yanukovych on charges of high treason, taking deliberate actions that violated Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and complicity with Russian authorities.

The Ukrainian judge in the trial, Vladyslav Devyatko, has scheduled November 19 for Yanukovych to make his final statement in the case.

It was not immediately clear whether Yanukovych's reported injuries would prevent him from making his statement to Kyiv's Obolon district court via a video link from Russia.

With reporting by UNIAN, TASS, Interfax, the Kyiv Post, and Komsomolskaya Pravda
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