Ukraine's Yanukovich blames radicals for bloodshed at Maidan protests
Baku-APA. Ukraine's former president Viktor Yanukovich on Monday blamed armed nationalist radicals for fomenting violence in the 2014 Maidan protests that led to scores of protesters being killed and ultimately prompted him to flee into exile, APA reports quoting Reuters.
His testimony to a Ukrainian court via a video link from neighboring Russia was the first time Ukrainian authorities could question the pro-Kremlin leader in relation to the fatal shootings of demonstrators in Kiev nearly three years ago.
He appeared as a witness rather than an accused in the trial of five riot police officers accused of murder, angering many Ukrainians who want to see him in the dock. Around 15-20 protesters were outside the court as the session began.
Yanukovich used the 6 hour televised proceedings to defend his actions in the final months of his presidency. He called his ousting a "coup", denied giving orders for police to fire at protesters and said he was trying to prevent bloodshed.
Questioned on specifics, he said he couldn't remember whether he had spoken to Russian leader Vladimir Putin by phone during the Maidan protests or whether he had met a close Putin aide at his residence around the same time.
Asked if he had signed a request for Russian troops to invade Ukraine, he deferred the question to his lawyer. Information about the shootings of protesters had first come to him via the media. He said the new authorities had destroyed crucial evidence of what really happened at Maidan.
"Different provocations escalated the situation. Radicals and those who manipulated them were guilty. They provoked the bloodshed"," he said, adding later that all the leaders at Maidan protests carried political responsibility for the deaths.
"It was reported that the shooting was being conducted from buildings that were under the opposition's control. I did not give any order to shoot," he said.
Yanukovich escaped Kiev in the final days of the Maidan protests, which installed a Western-backed leadership and lit the fuse for Moscow's annexation of Crimea and a separatist conflict in the mainly Russian-speaking east.
More than 100 demonstrators were killed in the three months of protests in Maidan square - 48 allegedly shot by police snipers who Ukrainian authorities say received direct orders from Yanukovich.
He is being investigated on suspicion of mass murder in a separate case.
Ukraine's General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko stood up in the courtroom during a break in Monday's proceedings to read out a statement accusing Yanukovich of treason.
Related news releases
- 18.03.2018Voting begins in Russian 2018 presidential election
- 17.03.2018Russia, Iran, Turkey to assist UN to draft constitutional reform in Syria - Lavrov
- 14.03.2018Moscow not connected to ex-spy’s poisoning: Kremlin
- 14.03.2018Moscow welcomes Turkey’s request for prompt S-400 delivery, Lavrov says
- 14.03.2018Turkish, Russian presidents to meet in Ankara on April 3 – FM
- 14.03.2018Syria, S-400 to be in focus at talks of Russian, Turkish foreign ministers
- 10.03.2018Putin on U.S. election interference: ‘I couldn’t care less’
- 07.03.2018Russia’s Mi-8 helicopter crashes in Chechnya
- 05.03.2018Russia has evidence West trying to save Nusra front for regime change - Lavrov
- 05.03.2018Putin’s adviser: Russia ready to disconnect from global Internet
- 03.03.2018Kremlin rejects U.S. charge Russia in breach of arms control treaties
- 02.03.2018Armen Sarkissian elected 4th President of Armenia
- 01.03.2018Putin: ‘No one listened to us then, so listen to us now’ - REPORTAGE
- 01.03.2018Putin announces Russia possesses hypersonic weapons
- 28.02.2018Shooting kills at least two, injures two in Kazan, Russia
- 26.02.2018Car carrying Armenian PM’s bodyguards crashes in Yerevan
- 24.02.20183 Georgians kidnapped in South Ossetia
- 22.02.2018Russian President met with the heads and deputy defense ministers of several countries
- 22.02.2018Ex-Georgian leader banned entry to Ukraine till 2021
- 20.02.2018Ukrainian president signs Donbass reintegration law
- 20.02.2018Dozens of Russian, CIS citizens killed & injured in recent clashes in Syria – Foreign Ministry
- 20.02.2018Russia summons Ukraine's representative over attack on building in Kiev
- 16.02.2018Russian toll in Syria battle was 300 killed and wounded: sources
- 16.02.2018Truck with 2,500 loaves of bread hijacked in Russia
- 15.02.2018New US sanctions pose no serious threat to Russian economy, russians - Medvedev
- 15.02.2018Reports of scores of Russians killed in Syria are disinformation by anti-govt forces - Moscow
- 14.02.2018Presidents of Russia and Ukraine hold a telephone conversation
- 13.02.2018Lavrov says ‘aggressive minority’ in West impedes establishment of relations with Russia
- 09.02.2018Former governor of Sakhalin region Khoroshavin sentenced to 13 years in jail for bribery
- 07.02.2018Russia favors making UN Security Council more efficient
- 06.02.2018Russian, Kazakh FMs discuss preparations for Caspian Summit
- 06.02.2018Russian Central Election Commission registers Putin as presidential candidate
- 04.02.2018Russian Defense Ministry Releases Video of Su-25 Downing Over Syria - VİDEO
- 04.02.2018Russian weapons deliver strikes on area from which Su-25 was shot down , 30 militants killed
- 03.02.2018Russia’s Foreign Ministry notes anti-Russian focus of US nuclear doctrine
- 02.02.2018Russian CEC chairwoman disapproves of Kremlin spokesman’s statement
- 02.02.2018Armenia: 10-year-old girl kidnapped for debts
- 02.02.2018Russia says U.S. 'hunting' for Russians to arrest around the world
- 01.02.2018UN envoy for Syria highlights role of Sochi congress for Geneva process, says Lavrov
- 01.02.2018Law enforcement officer receives stab wounds in Yerevan
- 30.11.2016Russia threatened Ukraine with missile strikes: sources
- 30.11.2016Kremlin expects Ankara’s explanation on Erdogan’s statement on Syria
- 30.11.2016Putin says establishing relations with Trump is crucial for whole world
- 25.11.2016Ex-President Yanukovych says supports Ukraine's territorial integrity
- 25.11.2016Putin presents Russian passport to Hollywood actor Seagal
- 25.11.2016Ivan Mikoyan, co-creator of iconic MiG-29, dies aged 89