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Ukraine's permanent representative to the United Nations, former Ukraine’s ambassador to Russia (2010-2014), Volodymyr Yelchenko, was interrogated in Obolonsky Court of Kyiv in the case of the ex-president's treason case. Find out the key points of Yelchenko’s testimony.
On the Russian military in Crimea
We have learned from media that approximately February 27, 2014, Russian military personnel began to appear in Crimea, although the Russian side denied this information, assuring that these were Russian regular units that are part of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea. But even after watching the Russian news, it became clear that these were not only the military that had always been in Crimea, but there were some additional units. In addition, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed us that there were at least several dozen special flights of Russian aviation, mainly to the Belbek airport. These flights, apparently, were used to transfer the additional forces. The Russian side has refuted that.
On Ukraine’s reaction to the Russian aggression in Crimea
We wrote letters. Almost every day, I wrote to the opposition and sent the telegrams to three addresses: to Ukraine’s acting president, to the Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. As Ukraine’s ambassador in Russia, I regarded that it was necessary to do everything possible (or at least try) to bring our bilateral relations back to normal, even despite those tragic events that were taking place in Crimea, and later in Donbas. I have already left Moscow at that time. I regarded that the leadership of Ukraine who read this information probably had more information from other sources and made a decision based on other information (that I was not aware of). Therefore, I cannot say that this was not accepted or was accepted.
On protest notes to Russia
At least until I have been in Moscow and after my departure, we have been sending protest notes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation almost every day or even few times a day. Moreover, I can add that my last visit to the Russian Foreign Ministry was on March 8.
On the plans of the Russian Federation concerning Ukraine
I think that it would not be a mistake to say that they had some farther plans and would not stop on Crimea. So it happened; this time it began in Donbas. Here, apparently, they need a permission (Yanukovych's letter with the request to call Russian troops in Ukraine, - Ed.) Just in case it was necessary. We do not know all of their plans, maybe, they wanted to go further or stop in Donbas, or go to Kharkiv, to Kyiv. But they needed this permission.
On Yanukovych's letter with the request to call Russian troops in Ukraine
From the very beginning, after Churkin’s speech (Vitaly Churkin, the late Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN) at a meeting of the Security Council on March 3, 2014, he asked the UN Secretariat to distribute these UN documents, but he, as far as I understand, has sent a copy without a signature. Therefore, the UN Secretariat appealed to Churkin. It follows from the logic of the situation that Churkin first sent this letter to the UN Secretariat without a signature. The UN Secretariat drew his attention to the fact that they need a signature, and the right document was sent later... They have sent the first document they could find, and when they were asked to provide the official document with a corresponding signature, they have sent the same document, but this time it was signed.
May 4, 2017, a trial in absentia over 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).