Ousted Ukrainian Leader Yanukovych Found Guilty of Treason

(Bloomberg) -- A Kiev court found ex-Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych guilty in absentia of treason in the wake of the country’s deadly revolution in 2014, sentencing him 13 years in prison.

The conviction relates to a letter Yanukovych allegedly sent to President Vladimir Putin five years ago requesting he send Russian troops to Ukraine to assist his government. Kremlin-backed Yanukovych, who fled to Russia following the demonstrations, has repeatedly professed his innocence.

Ousted Ukrainian Leader Yanukovych Found Guilty of Treason

“Yanukovych signed and submitted to Russian President Vladimir Putin a request to use Russian armed forces on the territory of Ukraine, thus assisting Russia in conducting undermining activities against Ukraine,” Judge Vladyslav Devyatko said Thursday in televised comments.

The revolution was triggered when Yanukovych, under pressure from Russia, suddenly abandoned plans to sign an integration pact with the European Union. While the protests began peacefully, dozens of people were killed by snipers in the center of the capital in February 2014. To date, no one’s been convicted for those deaths.

As an EU-friendly administration was in the process of taking power, Putin used the power vacuum as a chance to swipe Crimea from Ukraine. He’s since fomented a conflict on the two former allies’ border which persists to this day.

Since being deposed, Yanukovych has hit the headlines for other reasons as news came to light that he’d previously employed Paul Manafort, the disgraced former campaign chief of U.S. President Donald Trump.

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