- Title: Ukraine's ex-president testimony from Russia on killing of protesters postponed
- Date: 25th November 2016
- Summary: ROSTOV-ON-DON, RUSSIA (NOVEMBER 25, 2016) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** POLICE CAR / COURT BUILDING IN BACKGROUND SIGN READING (RUSSIAN) "RUSSIAN FEDERATION. ROSTOV REGIONAL COURT" OUSTED UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, VIKTOR YANUKOVICH, SEATED INSIDE COURTROOM IN ROSTOV-ON-DON, AS SEEN ON A MONITOR JUDGE SPEAKING YANUKOVICH AND HIS LAWYER YANUKOVICH SPEAKING CAMERA OPERATOR YANUKOVICH AND HIS LAWYER CONFERRING YANUKOVICH LISTENING KIEV, UKRAINE (NOVEMBER 25, 2016) (REUTERS) PANEL OF JUDGES IN COURTROOM, SENIOR JUDGE, SERHIY DYACHUK, SPEAKING VARIOUS OF YANUKOVICH AS SEEN ON A MONITOR (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SENIOR JUDGE, SERHIY DYACHUK, SAYING: "We inform the Rostov regional court that due to non-delivery of the accused to the court we cannot continue the court hearing." JUDGES STANDING ROSTOV-ON-DON, RUSSIA (NOVEMBER 24, 2016) (REUTERS) PHOTOGRAPHER TAKING PICTURES AS YANUKOVICH ARRIVING TO TALK TO MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) OUSTED UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VIKTOR YANUKOVICH, SAYING: "I am outraged by what's happened. There is only one question - 'Who benefits from this?’ Today we've learned that the Right Sector, radicals are again following Maidan principles and acting outside Ukraine's law. And they are doing it with the consent of the authorities." LAWYER STANDING NEXT TO YANUKOVICH, TALKING TO MEDIA
- Embargoed: 10th December 2016 13:04
- Keywords: Russia Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich Maidan protests court questioning Rostov-on-Don
- Location: ROSTOV-ON-DON, RUSSIA AND KIEV, UKRAINE
- City: ROSTOV-ON-DON, RUSSIA AND KIEV, UKRAINE
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA00159XZHHJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Protests prompted a Ukrainian court to delay questioning of exiled former president Viktor Yanukovich on Friday (November 25) over the killing of demonstrators on his watch, a move which Yanukovich said was an attempt to obstruct justice.
A Ukrainian court was due to cross-examine Yanukovich via a video link from the Russian southern Rostov-on-Don city over the fatal shooting by police officers of protesters during the Maidan street revolt of 2013/2014, an event that culminated in him fleeing to Russia.
The appearance would have been the first time Yanukovich was interrogated by a Ukrainian court about the deaths, but his role in this trial as a witness rather than the accused has angered many in Ukraine.
A small crowd of protesters in Kiev - some clad in camouflage and waving nationalist flags - prevented the five defendants from being transported to the courthouse from jail.
After some debate in the Kiev courtroom over how to proceed in the absence of the accused, the judge postponed the testimony to Nov. 28, despite appeals from Yanukovich to carry on.
"I am outraged by what's happened. There is only one question - 'Who benefits from this?' Today we've learned that the Right Sector, radicals are again following Maidan principles and acting outside Ukraine's law. And they are doing it with the consent of the authorities," he told journalists as he was leaving the court.
Ukraine's home minister hit back, commenting on his Facebook that Kiev would not be needled into violently breaking up peaceful protests.
Ukrainian General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko had earlier said the Kremlin had allowed Yanukovich to be cross-examined merely as a public relations stunt, pointing to Russian insistence the testimony coincide with the third anniversary of the protests.
Yanukovich has lived in Russia since escaping Kiev in the final days of the uprising, which installed a pro-European leadership and lit the fuse for Moscow's annexation of Crimea and a separatist conflict in the mainly Russian-speaking east.
More than 100 demonstrators were killed in the three months of street protests in Kiev's Maidan square - 48 allegedly gunned down by police snipers who Ukrainian authorities say received direct orders from the Moscow-backed Yanukovich.
Yanukovich is himself being investigated on suspicion of mass murder linked to the deaths, but the current trial is of five 'Berkut' riot police accused of carrying out the shooting. They have pleaded not guilty. Yanukovich denied any involvement.
Three years on from the start of the protests, nobody has yet been held accountable for the deaths - an additional pressure on the Ukrainian authorities' public approval ratings, which have been driven down by the patchiness of efforts to root out corruption and galvanise the economy.
Moscow says the 2013/14 uprising was orchestrated by the West and questions the legitimacy of the post-Yanukovich leadership in Kiev.
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