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February 21, President Poroshenko has testified in the Obolonsky District Court of Kyiv in the treason trial of his ousted predecessor.
The questioning last for less than an hour, Poroshenko managed to answer only a few court questions and the prosecutors. Most of all questions to the president were asked by Yanukovych’s lawyers, some of them were withdrawn.
Find out the key point of Poroshenko’s testimony.
On relations with Yanukovych
I was personally acquainted with Yanukovych. I had different relations with Yanukovych. That is all.
On the purpose of the visit to Crimea in February 2014
February 27, 2014, I appeared in the office of the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, acting president Turchynov with a proposal to immediately fly to Crimea and personally hold talks with the Crimean parliamentarians to stop those destructive processes that began with an attempt to declare an illegal referendum, convince deputies and watch the situation in Simferopol and Crimea. After a short conversation with the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, I asked to grant the power of attorney (I have this document with me) and send MP Poroshenko to Crimea, to authorize Poroshenko to conduct consultations and negotiations on the behalf of the Verkhovna Rada to stabilize and settle the political situation in Crimea. After receiving this instruction - I am ready to show it to the court secretary - I immediately went to Simferopol. After receiving information that Simferopol was already blocked by the troops and people in civilian clothes and that it would be difficult for me to get to Simferopol, I decided that the trip should still take place.
On his stay in Crimea
When I arrived in Simferopol, I saw a chain that surrounded the airport. There are relevant videos shot by media representatives, and cameras with microphones were located behind that chain. Several people tried to stop me, there was a fight. I broke through the cordon, and when I entered the area of television cameras and journalists, they were afraid to get into the camera zone. I made a statement about the purpose of my arrival. The court can attach this video to the materials of the court. The sense of the statement was that Crimea is Ukrainian, that we had to do everything in order to prevent provocateurs and provocations, we are ready to immediately create a working group between the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada and the Crimean parliamentarians of Ukraine in order to solve all the issues on the agenda. In order to do it, I phoned the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea Konstantinov (Volodymyr Konstantinov is now one of the "leaders of Crimea", appointed by Russia - Ed.), appointed a meeting with him. I have asked those people who met me to give me a lift to Simferopol, to the Crimean Verkhovna Rada. Despite certain obstacles, we have managed to reach a distance of just 300-400 m from the square and Crimean Verkhovna Rada building. The cars were not allowed. I got out of the car and walked to the Verkhovna Rada on foot. I have seen that Crimean Verkhovna Rada was closed, it did not work; it was surrounded by so-called "green men", servicemen of the regular Russian forces, and a chain of people in camouflage who called themselves "Crimean self-defense," but were coordinated by Russian special services officers.
On physical pressure
As soon as the journalists started shooting me, this was the video evidence of the empty and closed Verkhovna Rada, which did not adopt any decisions. There was a command to block me, surround and use the means of physical influence. I tried not to let them do it. After we completed the journalists’ shooting, my attempt to get into the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea was blocked by the mentioned persons, including Russian servicemen. I headed down another street to my car. At that time, I was surrounded by a few dozens of people, and then by hundreds of people, some of them were provocateurs who tried to hit and threaten me. But some people stood up for my defense, and I believe that my life was under a threat then. I am grateful to those people who defended me with their actions.
On the "referendum" held by Russia in Crimea
I have tried to prevent it, for I insist that, in my deep conviction, despite the fact that the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea did not have the authority to announce the so-called "referendum", no announcement was made. Manipulations with dates (first May 25, then March 16) indicate the uncertainty, haste, illegality of the actions of the Russian authorities, who thus tried to legitimize the actions of the Russian Federation. The coordination of these steps, together with the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin about the use of the Russian Armed Forces outside of Russia, the appeal to the Federation Council for obtaining the consent of the Russian parliament for the use of the Armed Forces, and the very hasty decision that the Russian Federation Council adopted, indicate that the actions of the Russian leadership, the Russian parliament, the Russian president, and servicemen, and mercenaries, who were located in Crimea, were coordinated in order to ensure illegal annexation. I want to emphasize that the victims among the Crimean Tatars and the Ukrainian servicemen vividly confirm these intentions.
On his visit to Luhansk in April 2014
During my stay in Luhansk in April, when I flew to a blocked Lugansk airport, I had a meeting with the faculty of Luhansk University. It is located 200-300 meters from the seized building of the Security Service, where the light was turned off after the meeting. The young people tried to block the meeting; it looked like their actions are well coordinated. I decided to visit the state border of Ukraine (with Russia, - Ed.), Izvarino.
On shelling of his car and saving a woman
According to my assistant, my car was shelled. And during the meeting with the residents of Izvarino, there were some provocative speeches of unknown people who crossed the border from the Russian side. But I am still very grateful to the residents of Izvarino, to a woman who tried to stop the provocateurs; after threats, I had to stand up for her and asked to bring to justice those who tried to harm her and others. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers did not come in time, the situation was tense and very coordinated, in my opinion, by Russian special services.
On Yanukovych’s self-withdrawal
In connection with the self-withdrawal, the duties of the president were assigned to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada. I can stress that due to the absence of the president, his self- withdrawal or other reasons, the duties are assigned to the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada. But this is precisely the high mission of the court to study and establish the circumstances. I would not interpret the Constitution or give some legal explanations. If anyone had any doubts about the constitutionality of this decision before to the date of the presidential election, he could appeal it to the Constitutional Court. As far as I know, this did not happen.
On the decree on Yanukovych’s self-withdrawal
I am not an honorable author of this decree. As a people's deputy, I have voted for it. The basis for assigning duties to the head of the Verkhovna Rada was the lack of communication with the president, president’s absence at his workplace, and the loss of the country's leadership in the conditions of the beginning of Russian aggression in the Crimea. For me, as a people's deputy, there were enough reasons to vote “for.”
On the appointment of Turchynov and Yanukovych’s whereabouts
My motivation for voting for the resolution on assigning responsibilities to Turchynov - I emphasize, this was the decision to impose duties - the powers of President Yanukovych did not stop after he disappeared. And how did he disappear? Because no one could get in touch with him. And why could nobody get in touch with him? Because no one knew where he was. Was he in Simferopol, or in Sevastopol, in Anapa, in Krasnoyarsk or in Rostov? No one knew that. And aggression was carried out against our country. The inaction of the Verkhovna Rada, of the people's deputies who are guided, would be irresponsibility, I mean if we did not react to the challenges in time.
The interrogation of the president was suspended after a question, asked by Yanukovych's lawyer Vitaly Serdyuk: “Why at the time during your winter vacation, when no one knew where you have been during a week, there were no decisions about your self-elimination?”
This question belongs to Yanukovych’s dismissal in February 2014. Previous questions that did not concern the case of Yanukovych’s treason were withdrawn by the judge after the protests of prosecutors. Poroshenko did not have time to reply to this question. The presiding judge has interrupted the interrogation ahead of schedule and thanked the president for his participation. The session was suspended until 10 am, February 22.
May 4, 2017, a trial in absentia over a former President Viktor Yanukovych on charges of high treason began. Obolonsky District Court of Kyiv held the first preparatory meeting on the case of the encroachment of Viktor Yanukovych on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Criminal Code provides a punishment of deprivation of liberty for a period of 10 years or life imprisonment. One of the main evidence in the case is the fact that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych asked Russia to send troops across the border to protect civilians (March 1, 2014).