Avakov's testimony on Yanukovych in court : Key points

Author : Arsen Avakov

Source : 112 Ukraine

Minister of Internal Affairs Avakov was interrogated as part of the trial of the treason of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych
23:55, 11 December 2017

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December 11, Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov became the second witness, interrogated in the Obolonsky court as part of a trial of the treason of the ex-president Viktor Yanukovych. Before this, a former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visited the court. We have gathered the main theses of Minister's answers to questions of the prosecution's side, judges, and lawyers of the ex-president.

About the language of testimony

I will give my testimony, but I ask the court in accordance with paragraph 4 to testify on my native language, which is convenient to use – Slobozhanshchyna language, as some call it Russian.

Slobozhanshchyna is a historical region, now located in Northeastern Ukraine and Southwestern Russia. It developed and flourished in the 17th and 18th centuries on the southwestern frontier of the Tsardom of Russia – Ed.

About visit to Crimea

I have personally visited Crimea on February 24th, more precisely the night from 23 to 24, and together with Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (the ex-head of the Security Service - ed.), we had an opportunity to look at a whole situation in detail at that moment. After the Crimean Tatar meeting, we went to Sevastopol to understand where Yanukovych had left, what his conditions were, what his plans were, and how he was going to carry out his functions in the future. This was the key task of my trip, I did not fly there to catch Yanukovych, clap him in irons shackles, and bring him back, so that people could tear him into pieces. Because at that time, we did not have any relevant decisions or functions; we just went to find Yanukovych. I wanted to have a conversation with him as a state-appointed functionary, to discuss how he would return to the performance of his duties."

About the last conversation with Yanukovych

At the end of 2010, I was in my office at the state administration in Kharkiv, and Yanukovych called me via governmental communication line and asked why I did not support him during the presidential election. I said that I had nothing to offer him. He insisted. "I have nothing to offer you, Viktor Fedorovych," I replied. And he suggested that we had to meet. "Well," he said. "Good-bye." "Good-bye," I said back. Fortunately, our conversation has ended on those words.

Scandalous letter of Yanukovych

When Yanukovych decided not to sign the association agreement with the EU and returned from Vilnius with a negative decision, a significant part of Ukrainians understood this situation in a different way than he presented. First of all, I think he was afraid about his personal relationships with Putin and his surrounding. And I think that this resulted in the fact that under the pressure from Russia or by his own initiative Yanukovych wrote a letter to Russians with a request to enter the territory of Ukraine, and this letter was passed to them.

About the first actions as a minister

The first thing I did when I began to understand the situation, and what was happening in the ministry (the Ministry of Internal Affairs, - Ed.), I tried to stop the bloodshed on Kyiv streets. Then I began to understand what kind of relationships were established in the government between certain people. All this time we could not reach Comrade Yanukovych either by special communication or in any other way. It became clear from the operational information that he left Donetsk for some reason and was heading toward Crimea. That is why we made a decision to fly to Crimea and met him there."

About Yanukovych choice

Yanukovych was choosing between the betrayal of the Motherland or his own career. When he saw that he had no prospects in Ukraine to continue his work, he decided to return here violently, by taking revenge on the Ukrainian people, surrendering Ukrainians to tanks. And right now, for example, on the territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions we have 746 tanks, that is more tanks than tank division of Great Britain has.

Consequences of Yanukovych actions for Crimea

Ukraine has lost the territory of Crimea, all Ukrainian citizens who live in Crimea are in an extremely disadvantageous position. People are restricted in their rights for freedom, which are now limited by the law of the Russian Federation. Some citizens had to leave Crimea, some of them are subject to criminal proceedings as of today. The group of Crimean Tatar activists who did not recognize the present government were arrested yesterday. We have numerous human victims in these undeclared and declared wars, about 15 thousand people.

About Donbas issue

In addition to Crimea occupation, territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions are the epicenter of military operations now. Officially 1.5 million people were forced to become refugees, and according to the unofficial data, this number is 2.5 million now. We can see that residents of the occupied territories do not have their basic needs covered, as even water and electricity cannot be delivered to their houses, because of constant bombarding. Ukrainian government cannot normally support education system, basic documents issuing. If this is the price that Yanukovych pays to hurt Ukrainians, then it is very bad.

Declaring wanted by Interpol

It's true. When I refused to support the presidential election in 2010, Yanukovych gave his people, including his people in the Prosecutor General in Kharkiv, an order to go after me and pressure me. After the organized pressure, they incriminated my case and the international wanted notice was issued. After that, I was detained by the Italian police, put in jail for pretrial detention, where after 14 days I was brought to trial. The court heard the materials of the case submitted by the Prosecutor General's Office and came to the conclusion that the case was politically motivated and released me from custody without any additional compensation, pledges and restrictions. After that the case was completely closed.

Consequences of my search

I returned to Ukraine, being elected as people's deputy, this case was investigated and closed by the Prosecutor General's Office or the regional prosecutor's office.

About being trolled by lawyers

Dear (Vitaly Serdyuk, Yanukovych's lawyer, - Ed.), there is a difference between questioning and trolling, I warn you that I will not tolerate this trolling... You see, you are not following the procedure. Minister is not interrogated anymore… he is just a public supervisor and nothing more.

About financing Maidan

We bought some tangerines. What else? Some food. But no one financed it. Personally, I did not have such opportunity. I brought some cakes, not Roshen, but ones produced in Kharkiv. Biscuits, chocolates.

About danger to his life

The Minister of Internal Affairs of the country that fights for its rights is always under some danger. But this criminal proceedings (with respect to Yanukovych, - Ed.), have nothing to do with that. I hope so."

A trial in absentia over the former President Viktor Yanukovych charged with treason began May 4, 2017. 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). The case against the former president of Ukraine was passed to the court on March 14, 2017.

Find out the chronology of the case here.

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