Ukrainian prosecutors complete probe into Yanukovych, Azarov treason case
Fugitive Yanukovych (Photo:Screenshot/Youtube/ICTV facts)
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has completed a probe into whether ex-President Viktor Yanukovych and ex-Premier Mykola Azarov acted for Russia’s benefit when signing the so-called Kharkiv deal in 2010, the agency said on Telegram on Dec. 19.
It was a pretrial investigation into a treason case opened against the two former officials charged under Part 2 of Article 28 and Part 1 of Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Defense lawyers of the suspects were granted access to the materials of the pretrial investigation.
The investigation established that the former president of Ukraine, in violation of the Constitution and the Law on International Treaties of Ukraine, signed an agreement on behalf of Ukraine in the city of Kharkiv on April 21, 2010, which extended the term of stay of the Russian Black Sea Fleet on Ukrainian territory, namely in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, for 25 years.
In turn, on the same day, the former head of government signed a Cabinet resolution to green-light the so-called Kharkiv Accords.
"The former top officials artificially created the prerequisites for increasing the number of Russian troops on Ukrainian territory, their re-equipment and modernization, and later their invasion and occupation of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol," the prosecutors said.
The Prosecutor General’s Office noted that the occupation of the peninsula enabled Russia to increase the personnel and military equipment of the Russian Black Sea Fleet between 2014 and 2022, as well as creating new military units and divisions.
“They were used by the aggressor state for the full-scale military invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022,” the prosecutors said.
Given that the suspects continue to hide in the aggressor state, the State Bureau of Investigation had to conduct a special pretrial investigation in absentia.
The Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, said on March 11, 2021, that he had instructed the SBU security service to establish the circumstances of the so-called Kharkiv Accords ratified by Parliament on April 27, 2010, as well as the actions of lawmakers at the time.
On March 12, 2021, the SBU initiated criminal proceedings against top officials in this case.
Then-MPs Rinat Akhmetov, Andriy Derkach, Vasyl Khmelnytskyi, Ihor Palytsia, Vitaliy Khomutynnyk, Vadym Stolar, and others voted for the ratification of the accords.
In total, the document was backed by 236 lawmakers, including 136 members of the former Party of Regions.
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