The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office on Thursday called for a 15-year prison term for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia after his dismissal and trial in absentia for high treason in Ukraine.
“Viktor Yanukovych betrayed his people, betrayed his army. At the most difficult time for his country and for its citizens,” prosecutors said.
“He fled, cynically betraying even his closest supporters,” accused the state prosecutors, before recommending the 15-year prison sentence.
Yanukovych fled to Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia in February 2014 following several weeks of pro-European protests during the bloodily repressed Maidan revolution in Ukraine. He was dismissed on 22 February 2014 by Parliament.
The new pro-Western authorities in Kiev have repeatedly demanded the extradition of Yanukovych, whom they accuse of “high treason” and “violating the territorial integrity” of Ukraine. His trial has taken place in his absence.
The Maidan protest, which took shape in the central square of Kiev on November 21, 2013, ended three months later after a violent crackdown that resulted in the deaths of a hundred protesters and about 20 police in clashes.
The arrival of the current pro-European government of Petro Poroshenko was followed by the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia in March 2014, and the outbreak of a conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country that has left more than 10, 000 dead to date.
Yanukovych is facing charges of high treason, complicity in waging an aggressive war, and complicity in infringement upon Ukraine’s territorial integrity and inviolability causing deaths and other grave consequences. The trial is set to continue in September.