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February 15, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov was interrogated on the treason case of Viktor Yanukovych in the Obolonsky court of Kyiv. Turchynov was one of the last prosecution witnesses who testified in court. Next week, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN, Volodymyr Yelchenko, and the President Petro Poroshenko would be questioned. Find out the key points of NSDC Secretary, who has been serving as the head of state for several months in 2014.
On the situation in Crimea in February 2014
Since the 27 (of February - Ed.), the seizure of the building of the Cabinet (Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC), - Ed.) and the Crimean Parliament, the active phase of the occupation of the ARC started. Together with this, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation gathered on the northern and eastern borders of Ukraine to prepare for the invasion of the mainland of Ukraine. Ukrainian intelligence and our foreign partners have informed us about this... March 1, the Russian parliament gave its contest to President Putin to use the Russian Armed Forces on the territory of Ukraine. Later it became clear that the occupation of Crimea, disarmament of the Ukrainian units were to end on March 1. In order to occupy Crimea, provoking the death of civilians in Crimea, they have used the fact that the country embraced with chaos; there was no power; they could begin the invasion of the territory of Ukraine without resistance in order to take control of the south and east of Ukraine, and to establish control over Kyiv, to restore power of Yanukovych’s puppet regime.
On the presidency of Yanukovych
When they say that Yanukovych and his defenders were protecting the Constitution, I want to recall that it Yanukovych usurped the Constitution in a rude way, appropriated his powers to which the people of Ukraine did not choose. These concerns unraveling the Constitution of 2004 and the return to the Constitution of Kuchma’s times. Therefore, Yanukovych's unconstitutional actions were observed during this entire period of his reign in Ukraine. And if you say that he defended the people, and you were along with him, I believe, this is your political statement, which has nothing to do with the current process.
On the situation after Yanukovych's flights
On 18 and 20 of February, the authorities led by Yanukovych crossed the line and used weapons against peaceful demonstrators on the Independence Square. The same situation was observed in other regions of the country. This led to great casualties, the loss of human lives. But this did not allow the authorities to defeat the Revolution of Dignity. According to our information, February 21-22, Yanukovych fled from Kyiv, virtually the entire Cabinet of Ministers, all ministers, heads of law enforcement agencies, and many of their subordinates fled from Kyiv as well. As a result, there was a colossal danger to our country, chaos, unmanageability. In these circumstances, the only legitimate authority in Ukraine was the parliament. Verkhovna Rada was forced to take the responsibility. As I recall, February 22, there was a statement that Yanukovych did not perform his duties on his own will, that is, he withdrew from his duties. That day, in accordance with the rules, according to the democratic procedure, I was elected chairman Ukrainian parliament.
On the escape of the former president
As we have heard, he took his things, a huge amount of property and disappeared in an unknown direction... After I was elected chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, communication with me was around the clock due to the difficult situation in the country. They called me at night, and in the daytime, round the clock; I was communicating with the military leadership at the same time even during the session. Neither Yanukovych nor his entourage tried to get in touch with me.
It became known that he would try to cross the Ukrainian-Russian border from Kharkiv and thus leave the territory of Ukraine. To prevent the disappearance of important documents, country’s resources and criminals who could be with Yanukovych, in particular, the Minister of Internal Affairs, the head of the Security Service, who could also be with him, I asked the border service to prohibit Yanukovych's helicopter from flying outside the country. He sat down in Donetsk, refused to communicate with any representatives of the Ukrainian authorities and disappeared from the Donetsk airport in an unknown direction.
On Russia’s plans
Last year, the West-2017 drills were held. In 2013, similar exercises were held on the territory of the Republic of Belarus. The aim of the exercises was as follows. A certain country appeals to the Russian Federation, to Belarus with a request to help in restoring the constitutional order in the country and to overcome the terrorist groups that have seized the central authorities in Ukraine, and, logically, the Russian allied forces help restore the constitutional order. They understood that the Yanukovych regime could collapse at any time; they understood that the country collapse was near; they understood that the regime could still exist at the expense of Russia's financial assistance. And in the event of its fall and the so-called "restoration of the legitimate" (and, in fact, puppet) power, was prepared.
On contacts with the Russian authorities
During the NSDC meeting, I was just informed that the chairman of Russian State Duma, Naryshkin, was calling us. I took a break and talked with Naryshkin. He said that Russia recognizes me only as a legitimate head of the Verkhovna Rada. But Russia basically does not recognize my powers as an acting president. They believe that we have seized power by force. Naryshkin has stressed that they considered Yanukovych a legitimate president and were ready to accept any information from him.
On panic and responsibility
After the Russian aggression began in the country, when Russian troops began to seize Crimea, to hang over our eastern and northern borders, a real panic began in the country. And in order to calm people, to avoid chaos and disorder, I was forced to take full responsibility.
On his activities on Maidan
I have been performing different tasks. My main task was to coordinate protests in Kyiv and the region.
On the supply of weapons to Maidan
I do not know the fact that weapons from Western Ukraine have been brought to Maidan, as you say, from the police stations, etc.
On the President's Administration building
When Yanukovych fled away, the administration practically ceased to function. We have restored it, but only technical, legal services; in fact, the most of the offices were empty.
On the Revolution of Dignity
Yanukovych wanted to hand Ukraine over to Russia. In fact, he misinformed the entire Ukrainian society when he promised to sign an association for Ukraine's European integration (they even said about this to the media). Actually, they were preparing an agreement on the Customs Union. They have actually prepared a military-political alliance with the Russian Federation, they wanted to capitulate and give up the whole country to Russia. Not only Crimea, not only the east but the whole country; that was the danger.
On the Kharkiv agreements
The main treason, which occurred under Yanukovych’s rule, was signing of the Kharkiv agreements. This was the first chord in the occupation of Crimea because they let huge military divisions of the Russian Federation to freely deploy in Crimea, in fact, there were no restrictions: they were not only in Sevastopol, they could also easily move across Crimea, they took advantage of it then. The Kharkiv agreements were, in fact, the foundation of the occupation of Crimea. Despite the fact that the opposition strongly denied this (there were smoke and fights in the parliament), they still “broke in” this topic, signed these agreements, and then the surrender of Crimea began. When they saw that they cannot get the whole country, they began to divide the country into pieces, organizing separatist riots, because it is clear that the new leadership will not cooperate or lead Ukraine to Europe.
On the IMF and Russia
The IMF's conditions are much better than those provided by Russia. In addition, the IMF does not require surrendering the sovereignty of our state in exchange for its lending; on the contrary, they are trying to help Ukraine build a normal economic situation. Although I cannot agree with all the IMF’s proposals.
On the introduction of martial law in 2014
February 27, 2014, in the evening I gave an order to the head of the legal department of the (the president’s, - Ed.) administration to prepare an appropriate decree on the introduction of the martial law. But, what was important for experts, the introduction of martial law does not give the right to use weapons. Only the declaration of war gives the right to use weapons. Concerning the introduction of the martial law in Crimea, we had no ways to implement it. If we introduced martial law across the country, this would be a serious prerequisite, and I prepared this decree. During NSDC meeting on the 28th of February, I planned to get support for this decision, but the decree cannot work if the Verkhovna Rada does not approve it. That is why on February 28, in order to get support from the parliament, I invited the leaders of the political forces and factions to get their political support ... I have voted for this decision.
On anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in Donbas
When the war in Donbass began, I was forced to find an appropriate option in the form of ATO, that is without declaring the martial law, not to stop the elections, to continue to fight against Russian aggression in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
On the declaration of the war against Russia
After the total nuclear disarmament of Ukraine, which was signed by the Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine has no needed weapon to resist the nuclear state like Russia. We do not have military means to counteract the nuclear state in case of using the entire arsenal of weapons. That is why we did not declare war in February-March 2014, and, unfortunately, we cannot do it now, when we have a battle-worthy army, a defense industry complex, a weapon that is sufficient for the defense of the country.
On a possible ATO in Crimea
ATO is launched when we speak about a separate region, in particular, Crimea, by the regional branch of the SBU Anti-Terrorist Center. It should be approved by the SBU chairman, who informs the president or acting president. SBU did not come up with a proposal to conduct ATO. And I can explain why. Because 90% of the SBU workers (I am talking about the official data), have betrayed us. Only 10% of the SBU workers who worked in Crimea remained loyal to Ukraine.
On the traitors in Crimean law enforcement bodies
The number of traitors was so high, that we should speak about at least not betraying Ukraine instead of showing heroism. Therefore, in conditions when 90% of the Crimean SBU had its own subdivisions of the Anti-Terrorist Center in each region, it was not clear whom to appoint. There were 90% of the traitors in the SBU, while the police had more than 99% of them. That is, less than 1% of the police officers remained loyal to Ukraine.