FILE - In this March 2, 2018 file photo, former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych gestures as he speaks at a news conference in Moscow. A lawyer representing Yanukovych said on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, that his client will be unable to appear before a Kiev court because of injuries sustained on a Moscow tennis court. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

Ukraine ex-president Yanukovych to miss treason hearing

November 18, 2018 - 6:49 am

MOSCOW (AP) — Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych won't be able to appear before a Kiev court on Monday because of injuries sustained on a Moscow tennis court, his lawyer said.

Yanukovych "cannot appear in court seeing as he has been hospitalized" and is unable to move due to spinal and knee injuries, lawyer Aleksandr Goroshinsky told Russian news agencies Sunday.

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

Shortly after disappearing from Kiev, he surfaced safely in Russia. Prosecutors told a Kiev court in August that Yanukovych abandoned the nation to fate and "fled into the arms of the aggressor," referring to Russia's swift annexation of Crimea from Ukraine following his flight from the capital.

Yanukovych, who so far has been absent from court proceedings against him, faces charges of treason, complicity in a war against Ukraine and premeditated actions to alter Ukraine's borders. Prosecutors in August asked for a sentence of 15 years in prison.

In September, the court invited Yanukovych to appear and make a final statement. Goroshinsky said at the time that his client was only interested in doing so by Skype. On Sunday, he told Russian journalists that, given Yanokovych's current condition, they would ask to reschedule the date of the hearing.

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