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December 11, Obolonsky district court of Kyiv has interrogated former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk within the framework of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych case. The interrogation lasted for almost two hours. This interrogation was the first in a series of those planned for the future. What did the ex-Prime Minister say in his testimony in court? Find out our short review.
About the last meeting with Yanukovych
According to the Yatsenyuk, the last time he talked to Yanukovych was February 22, 2014. "This was a phone call, this call was carried out from the premises of the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, this contact was via a mobile phone. If I remember correctly, it was a mobile phone of one of the members of the Party of Regions. And then I personally talked with Viktor Yanukovych about his further actions for the settlement of the political crisis, which took place in 2014."
Congratulations from Putin
According to Yatsenyuk’s testimony, the Russian president has congratulated Yanukovych twice before the CEC's official announcement of his victory in the presidential election. "Before the announcement of the results of the CEC that Yanukovych won the election, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his congratulations to the unselected president, Yanukovych, this is a unique event in world history."
On Yanukovych’s security
Yatsenyuk also said that the staff of the ex-president's guards consisted of several hundred people. At the same time, he said, there were no threats to Yanukovych's life, even after his escape from Kyiv in February 2014. "According to the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine "On State Protection," the President of Ukraine enjoys state protection not only for the duration of his powers, but also for life. At that time, the state guard of the then president reached several hundred people. Therefore, there was no any information about the threat to life and the health of President Yanukovych, moreover, as far as I know, this is also confirmed by the fact that Viktor Yanukovych personally refused from the state protection. In my opinion, this means that if there was a threat to his life, he would not refuse; there was no any threat, therefore he would refused."
On Yanukovych’s escape from Ukraine
Yatsenyuk convinced that in this situation, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian security forces played an important role. "The circumstances of leaving the territory of Ukraine were much better known to Vladimir Putin, because also from his personal interview, it became clear how under coverage of Russian servicemen of the Russian FSB GRU Viktor Yanukovych left the territory of Ukraine. I know this information from an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where he said how he saved Yanukovych."
On the annexation of Crimea
Yatsenyuk suggests considering the date of the beginning of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula the one depicted on a special medal issued by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation - "For the Return of the Crimea". "This medal dates the beginning of the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory as February 20, 2014. The first information appeared in the media, and here it should be noted that the Russian plan was clearly prepared in advance, as Russian servicemen seized infrastructure facilities, blocked Ukrainian military units, blocked airports - both civilian and military, blocked state authorities in a form that at that time did not have marks of the Russian Armed Forces. All these things were done, but later Putin said a fairy tale that "There was no Russian presence there."
About his visit to the peninsula
Yatsenyuk failed to respond specifically when was his last visit to Crimea, but said he had not visited the peninsula after Russia’s annexation. "After February 27, 2014, after my appointment to the post of Prime Minister of Ukraine, I have not visited Crimea, which was, is and will be the territory of independent Ukraine. February 22-27, as the leader of the Fatherland faction, I was in my workplace in order to pass laws to enable Ukraine to move forward and reverse Russian military aggression."
About conversations with Medvedev
According to Yatsenyuk, during his premiership he spoke twice with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev. In both cases, Yatsenyuk calls the Russian side the initiator of the contact. "During the first conversation I told him: "You must urgently return your troops to the barracks, to the zones of permanent deployment, you must stop the violation of international law. If there are any issues that concern our bilateral relations, we are ready to discuss them, but illegal annexation and attack on Ukraine is something that violates international law, and also undermines our bilateral agreements. This is unacceptable. During the second statement I talked to him, I even remember the quote, I told him the following phrase: "First, you should take back your turds from Ukraine, and then we will talk about socio-economic aspects." This was a really strange call, which concerned the development of economic relations between Ukraine and Russia, despite the fact that Russia carried out military aggression."
And again about the disappearance of Yanukovych
Yatsenyuk said that the legitimately elected president of Ukraine disappeared in the night of February 21-22, 2014. "Does Constitution of any state provide for the possibility, when the president simply disappeared? Moreover, not only that he disappeared, he also moved to the territory of the state that carried out military aggression against Ukraine... Viktor Yanukovych disappeared on the night of February 21-22, 2014. Nobody knew where Viktor Yanukovych was, moreover, if you saw the interview Viktor Yanukovych gave to the national channels, it was written for us in an unknown place, and then Yanukovych said that he would not sign anything."
About historical responsibility of Yatsenyuk’s premiership
That is how Yatsenyuk called his premiership. "It so happened that in 2014, a historic responsibility to become the prime minister of the belligerent country fell on me. A mission to become the head of the country's executive branch, which was on the verge of default, a country that did not have gas, a country that had million debts, a country that did not have an army that did not have militia. It had nothing but Russian military aggression. But it had the main thing - the will of Ukrainian citizens in order to preserve their country."
On the consequences of the premiership
The ex-prime minister told how his work in the government affected his health. "24 hours a day you try to do everything, because everything is pouring in, because your (pageantry turned to Yanukovych’s lawyers – Ed.) president surrendered the country, and I had to save the situation. The task was to take responsibility, I took it, I took it! How did my life change then? If you want to know about my physical condition, I have got a hernia of the spine, and if you would like to know about my moral condition - I'm glad that I had the opportunity to lead the executive branch in a belligerent country."
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). The case against the former president of Ukraine was transferred to the court on March 14, 2017.
Find out the chronology of the case here.