Former MP of Russian Duma Ilya Ponomarev, one of the main witnesses in the case of Viktor Yanukovych’s state treason, testified that the invitations to the members of the Federation Council (upper house of the Russian parliament) were being sent before Yanukovych’s letter to Putin, which pleaded to use Russian military on Ukraine’s territory, appeared.
While Russia justifies sending troops to Ukraine due to Yanukovych’s appeal and support of the Federation Council, Ponomarev says actions were being taken before the letter was even written. The information comes from Ilya Ponomarev’s testimony, a copy of which was published by the UNIAN.
This way, according to Ponomarev, Russian aggression was inevitable. “As far as I understand in terms of chronology, the decision to convene a Federation Council assembly came before the mentioned appeal by Yanukovych. I know from senators I’m acquainted with, now I don’t remember who exactly told me, phone calls about this extraordinary meeting were made and invitations sent to the members of the Federation Council on February 28, 2014”. Yanukovych’s letter is dated March 1, 2014.
In his testimony, Ponomarev goes on to say that he found out about Yanukovych’s letter from the media, and he saw its copy on March 3, 2014, during a broadcast of the UN Security Council Assembly. “I personally didn’t see Yanukovych’s appeal. I read about it in the media, and saw Churkin, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN, show the copy of this statement at the UN Security Council Assembly on March 3, 2014.
At the same time, many of Ponomarev’s public addresses somewhat contradict his testimony. In particular, in one of his recent interviews, he says that he knew about the letter and that it was shown at the Federation Council assembly.
Ponomarev’s testimony is similar to the previously published copy of the testimony of another former Duma MP Denis Voronenkov, who was killed in Kyiv. The prosecution also called him one of the main witnesses in the case. Voronekov referred to the media announcements a lot.