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Yanukovych Marks 5 Years in Exile

Former Ukrainian leader denounces current Kyiv authorities, Europe for conniving at his downfall.

7 February 2019

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said his conviction on treason and other charges had “nothing to do with the law” and instead was "written on the instructions of the [Ukrainian] authorities.”


Yanukovych’s trial in Kyiv took place in his absence.


In its verdict announced on 24 January, the Obolon district court ruled that Yanukovych "committed a crime against the foundation of Ukraine's national security" and was found guilty of "complicity in waging an aggressive war against Ukraine," RFE/RL reports.



Talking to journalists yesterday at the Moscow headquarters of Russian state-run media outlet Rossiya Segodnya, Yanukovych reiterated his view that he was illegally ousted from power in 2014 by a violent uprising, and accused European leaders of betraying him.


During the trial, Ukrainian prosecutors produced a letter Yanukovych allegedly sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin, requesting the assistance of Russian troops to restore law and order in Ukraine during the Maidan revolution, as an indication of treason, Bloomberg writes.


The court sentenced him to 13 years in prison, although Yanukovych is not likely to serve his sentence any time soon. He lives in Russia, where he fled in February 2014 during the Maidan protests, triggered in part by his decision to abandon the signing of an integration pact with the European Union and instead pursue a Russian loan bailout and closer economic ties with Russia, the Kyiv Post writes.


At his press conference yesterday, Yanukovych said he was not on any Interpol database and could travel freely to any country. A spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Prosecutor General confirmed that Interpol recently removed Yanukovych from its wanted list.


He said he recently returned to Russia after receiving medical treatment abroad, Pakistan Point reports, citing Sputnik.



  • The OSCE is said to be unhappy with Ukraine’s intention to bar Russian observers from monitoring the presidential elections on 31 March. Peter Tejler, the head of the OSCE election monitoring mission, said this would contravene Ukraine’s commitments to the organization, UNIAN reports.


  • Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko announced that he would order border guards to block the entry of Russian OSCE observers, according to TASS.

Compiled by Rose Joy Smith

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