MOSCOW, November 28 (RAPSI) – Former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych said he did not give order to law enforcers to use fire arms against protesters when testifying about the events in Kiev in late 2013 and early 2014.
According to Yanukovych, everything was being done to reach a compromise with protesters, who gathered on Kiev’s central square Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square).
The bloodshed had been provoked by radicals manipulated by others, Yanukovych stated.
The Ukrainian ex-President testifies via a video link in a criminal case against former ‘Berkut’ riot police officers (the unit was disbanded in February 2014) examined by a Kiev district court.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office suspects Yanukovych of the same crimes allegedly committed by former ‘Berkut’ officers; however, his case is subject to separate criminal proceedings.
Speaking during a break in hearings on Monday, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko accused former president Victor Yanukovych of treason claiming that he was involved in violation of the country’s territorial integrity.
Moreover, Lutsenko said that Yanukovych is liable for a 1.8 trillion hryvnia damage (about $70 billion) caused to Ukraine.
The political crisis erupted in Ukraine in late November 2013 after the government announced that it had halted the country’s association with the European Union. Protests, called Euromaidan, swept across the country and led to violent clashes between armed activists and law enforcement officers in late 2013 and early 2014.
Fighting between radical anti-government protesters and police culminated in mass riots on February 18, 2014.
On February 20, fire was opened on protestors. Over 100 people died those days on both sides, according to RIA Novosti.
Ukraine's authorities claim 'Berkut' officers to be blamed for the shootings.
Russia says that militants of Right Sector, a far-right Ukrainian group banned in Russia, may have been behind the attack.
Ukraine went through a regime change on February 22, when President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country and Euromaidan activists rose to power in Kiev.
In early 2015, it was reported that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office brought charges against Yanukovych in absentia and addressed Russia with a request to extradite the former president. Yanukovych is suspected of organizing a criminal group, abuse of power, embezzling state property and other offenses. The Russian Ministry of Justice then claimed he had not received any documents on extraditing Yanukovych to Kiev.
On June 6, Russia declined to extradite Yanukovych, the Prosecutor General’s Office’s spokesman Alexander Kurennoy told journalists.
A motion for provisional arrest and detention of Yanukovych filed by Ukraine was considered and dismissed in accordance with Article 3 (Political offences) of the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, he said. Ukrainian authorities were informed about this decision, Kurennoy added.