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Majority of Maidan-related charges against Yanukovich dropped — attorney

October 24, 16:28 UTC+3

The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office has dropped most of the charges related to the 2013-2014 developments in Kiev

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Viktor Yanukovich

Viktor Yanukovich

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

KIEV, October 24. /TASS/. The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office has dropped most of the charges related to the 2013-2014 developments in Kiev’s Maidan [the term ‘maidan’ was coined after Kiev’s central Independence Square, or Maidan Nezalezhnosti, to refer to the anti-government riots] filed against former President Viktor Yanukovich, his defense lawyer Vitaly Serdyuk said on Tuesday.

"The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office led by Yuri Lutsenko has cleared Viktor Yanukovich of suspicion of cracking down on protesters, including students and journalists, on November 30, 2013 and in December 2013-January 2014. Moreover, Viktor Yanukovich is no longer a suspect implicated in the murders of Sergey Nigoyan, Mikhail Zhiznevsky and Roman Senik in February 2014," he said.

 

"On March 2, 2014, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office accused Viktor Yanukovich of issuing orders to the Berkut special police force in December 2013-January 2014 to beat peaceful protesters. As many as 165 people, including 40 journalists were beaten up. Along with that, Yanukovich was accused of being behind the murders of activists Sergei Nigoyan, Mikhail Zhiznevsky, Roman Senik, the deaths of 70 people and beating of more than 500 protesters," Aver Lex, a law firm which released Serdyuk’s statement, said.

"By now, these charges have been completely retorted," Yanukovich’s defense lawyers said.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko said that the case on Yanukovich’s implication in the death of civilians on Maidan in February 2014 would be referred to court after the high treason case was considered.

During a court hearing of the case of the 2014 Maidan shootings on November 28, 2016, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko read out a notification of the opening a criminal case against Yanukovich on charges of high treason. The former president was at the moment in Russia’s southern city of Rostov-on-Don from where he answered questions in the videoconference regime. On January 20, 2017, Kiev’s district court issued permission to launch a pre-trial investigation.

State coup in Ukraine

On November 21, 2013, a week ahead of the anticipated signing of an association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union at an Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, the then Ukrainian government announced "suspension of the process of preparations" for the signing of that agreement.

It provoked mass riots in central Kiev that ultimately resulted in a three-month standoff, commonly knowns as ‘maidan,’ on Kiev’s central Independence Square, or Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Protesters seized a number of administrative buildings and set up the so-called armed ‘self-defense’ forces which plunged into open confrontation with law enforcers. On February 20, 2014, as many as 53 people were killed by unidentified snipers in Institutskaya Street in central Kiev. The Azarov government resigned, the then president, Viktor Yanukovich, fled the country and opposition factions in the Verkhovna Rada took power. On February 22, 2014, the Verkhovna Rada passed a resolution on the president’s self-removal from power and appointed early presidential elections in May 2014, which were won by Pyotr Poroshenko.

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