Ex-Ukrainian president testimony postponed

AP News
Posted: Nov 25, 2016 12:52 PM
Ex-Ukrainian president testimony postponed

MOSCOW (AP) — Video testimony by Ukraine's ousted president was postponed on Friday in the trial of five former special forces policemen charged with fatally shooting scores of demonstrators.

The shootings in February 2014 were the bloody climax of months of demonstrations on Kiev's main square against President Viktor Yanukovych. He fled the country only to surface in Russia days later.

Yanukovych was to give testimony to a Kiev court from a courtroom in southern Russia on Friday. But the Ukrainian proceeding was put off until Monday because demonstrators from the nationalist Pravy Sektor group blocked the exit of the jail where the five defendants are being held.

The news agency Unian cited a Pravy Sektor spokesman as saying the demonstrators feared the former police would be freed after the court hearing.

Over three days in February 2014, 72 people died on the Maidan square from gunshots, injures and sniper fire. There were also 13 deaths among the police and the Berkut special forces.

Yanukovych told a televised news conference later Friday that he "feels sorry for the lads who died," referring to the protesters who were shot, but wondered why the deaths of the police troops were not investigated.

Yanukovych also condemned Pravy Sektor for derailing the hearings, saying that its members "are implicated in the crimes on Maidan and are responsible for them."

Ukrainians looked in amazement at the gilded palace that Yanukovych and his staff abandoned when he fled the country. Asked how much money he smuggled from Ukraine, Yanukovych insisted that he did not take anything with him except for the "cabin luggage."

Russian media, however, reported that Yanukovych is living a luxurious life at a mansion outside Moscow and in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.