Yanukovych gave a press conference in Rostov after the interrogation. Photo: screengrab from hromadske.tv
Article by: Vitalii Rybak
Recently, Ukraine’s former president Viktor Yanukovych was interrogated in Rostov. Here are ten things to know about the interrogation:
- Yanukovych was set to be questioned as a witness in the case of Euromaidan killings which occurred in central Kyiv back in February 2014, which is looked into by Sviatoshyn Court in Kyiv. He spent almost seven hours answering the questions of prosecutors.
- The questioning was scheduled to take place on 25 November, but it was adjourned several minutes after the start of the hearing, because the defendants were not present in court, so the additional hearing was held on 28 November.
- Yanukovych claims to remember almost nothing form his last days in Ukraine (18-20 February 2014). He said he had no recollection of what he was doing then, with whom he spoke over the phone. He also stated that he received information about killings “from the news”.
- Yanukovych’s typical answer sounded like this:
Oleksiy Donsky, prosecutor: “Do you remember your talks with the opposition, or how you called Putin when people on the Maidan were shot?”
Yanukovych: “No, I do not remember these conversations, and probably there were no such conversations at all.”
- Yanukovych is convinced that all the events on Maidan were staged. He talked about the role of far-right and nationalist forces multiple times, argued that Right Sector and Maidan self-defense forces had firearms, including sniper rifles.
- Ex-president stressed he would do everything to stop the bloodshed, including “early presidential elections and amendments to the Constitution.” However, he did not explain why he ended up doing nothing.
- Speaking about the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, Yanukovych emphasized that his decision to suspend the negotiations was a right one. However, later he noted he had tried not to put brakes on Eurointegration process but to make it faster, more efficient. A clear case of paradox.
- Two years after he fled from Ukraine, Yanukovych still considers himself a legitimate president. “I have by far not put off this responsibility. I bear it before the Ukrainian people,” he stressed.
- Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, has read out official accusations of high treason that have been brought against Yanukovych. Nevertheless, Yanukovych’s lawyer urged Ukraine not to ask tough questions, saying Yanukovych is a witness, not a suspect.
- There were many inconsistencies in Yanukovych’s answers, but the prosecution so far failed to pull out the truth from him. Next hearings are set for Friday, 2 December.
These theses are prepared by Vitalii Rybak for Internews based on reports by Hromadske.ua and Ukraine Today.