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Yanukovich’s video-linked face off with top Ukrainian officials gets green light

August 18, 17:56 UTC+3 KIEV
Among the officials Yanukovich wants to see are President Pyotr Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk
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Viktor Yanukovich

Viktor Yanukovich

© ITAR-TASS/Valeriy Matytsin

KIEV, August 17. /TASS/. The Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office is gearing up to organize a face-to-face showdown between Viktor Yanukovich and top Ukrainian officials in a court video link-up requested by the former Ukrainian president, Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsehko announced at a Thursday briefing.

"We are ready to organize a video link-up to hear testimony by Yanukovich. I promise that he will have not only a face-to-face dialogue but, let me emphasize this, also a fair trial and verdict," the prosecutor general stressed.

Yanukovich’s lawyer Vitaly Serdyuk on Tuesday appealed at the General Prosecutor’s Office to let Yanukovich, who is accused of large-scale bribe-taking, confront senior Ukrainian officials via a video link-up.

The officials Yanukovich wants to see at the questioning are President Pyotr Poroshenko, former Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, Speaker Andrei Parubiy, National Security and Defense Council Secretary Alexander Turchinov and Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klichko.

Besides, the defense also requests an interrogation session with a number of other unnamed persons for testimony on the so-called Maidan case.

The defense asks for a cross-examination via a video-conference in court, as "only testimony in court is decisive," Serdyuk explained.

Protests in Kiev’s Maidan Square broke out in Kiev in 2013, when Yanukovich put off signing an association agreement with the European Union in order to examine the deal more thoroughly. This move sparked mass riots that eventually led to a coup in February 2014, ousting Yanukovich from the presidency and forcing him to flee from Ukraine.

After the Maidan leaders took power, several criminal cases were launched against Yanukovich and his team. The General Prosecutor’s Office began procedures of convicting them in absentia, and had their bank accounts frozen.

In January 2015, Interpol placed Yanukovich on an international wanted list as requested by Ukraine. He is accused of supposedly usurping power, forming an organized criminal network, abetting the shooting Maidan activists, abuse of power as well as embezzlement.

The Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office accuses Yanukovich of taking roughly $1 million in bribes between 2011 and 2012. The former president is charged with violating Article 368 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (gaining improper advantage by an official).

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