Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovich gets 13-year jail term for 'treason'

Russian Granat-2 unmanned aircraft shot down in Ukraine

Russian Granat-2 unmanned aircraft shot down in Ukraine

A Ukrainian court has found the former president Viktor Yanukovych guilty of treason for his efforts to crush the 2014 pro-western demonstrations that eventually toppled his government.

"With his deliberate illegal actions, Yanukovich committed a crime against the foundations of the national sovereignty of Ukraine, namely state treason", judge Vladyslav Deviatko said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's government sent troops without insignia to the peninsula, seized key buildings, took control of the regional legislature, and staged a referendum denounced as illegitimate by at least 100 countries at the UN.

The charges will have little real effect on Yanukovych, 68, who has lived in exile in the Russian city of Rostov since fleeing Ukraine under armed guard almost five years ago.

The court in Kiev has been holding hearings on the case since 2017.

Yanukovych faces a number of other criminal probes including over usurpation of power and using force against demonstrators.

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Yanukovych fled Ukraine in 2014 as tensions in Kyiv flared up following a deadly police crackdown on protesters calling for the president to follow through with an association agreement 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.

Russian Federation also fomented unrest and backed opponents of Kyiv in eastern Ukraine, where more than 10,300 people have been killed in the ensuing conflict since April 2014.

Russian Federation views the chain of events that led to Yanukovych's ouster as a coup orchestrated by Washington.

For two decades he served as a transport manager in Donetsk before moving into politics in the late 1990s.

In 2004, he was initially proclaimed the victor of a presidential election amid allegations of vote-rigging and charges of interference from Moscow.

Six years later Yanukovych returned to beat Orange Revolution co-leader Yulia Tymoshenko in a bitter presidential contest.

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