Hearing in high treason case against Yanukovych: Diplomat Serhieiev interviewed. Court report


On Aug. 15, Obolonskyi district court of Kyiv held its seventh hearing in the case of high treason by former president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, who is charged with high treason, assistance in waging aggressive war, assistance in violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity and immunity that lead to human casualties or other grave consequences.

Text updates from the previous hearing can be found here.

Today's hearing focuses on interviewing former Ukraine's envoy to U.N. Yurii Serhieiev, who was present at the U.N. session of March 3, 2014, where Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin showed a copy of Yanukovych's letter to Putin requesting to send in the troops.

Censor.NET reported live from the court.

16:15 Serhieiev and his lawyers leave the court without talking to the press.

16:12 Judge announces a break until 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 17.

15:58 Lawyer asks how did Serhieiev identify the "green men" in Crimea in spring of 2014 as Russian troops.

Serhieiev: "Information that we were receiving from police officers who were there [confirmed that]. And the "green men" did not keep their identity a secret."

15:51 Serhieiev says it was a copy of the original letter.

15:47 Serhieiev is again asked whether the letter by Yanukovych was legally binding.

"For Ukraine, it was not. But Russia believed it was, and used this letter. There is no inconsistency here. I just disproved this letter was legitimate," Serhieiev says.

15:39 Serhieiev says Putin did not draft or sign an official document on sending the troops, although he asked the Federation Council of Russia to approve it.

Serhieiev says the document penned by Yanukovych had his signature on it.

15:27 The attorney asks whether the letter penned by Yanukovych was legally binding for Russia without a Rada ruling.

Serhieiev says Russia did not look at the Rada decision and that this letter was used for legitimization.

15:24 Meshechek asks about then leader of Crimea Aksenov.

"He was elected illegally, and what he did was a violation of laws of Ukraine. That was not the person who is entitled to ask for military support."

Aksenov wrote to Putin that he was no longer able to control the situation in Crimea.

15:19 Attorney Vitalii Meshechek starts his part of the interview.

He asks Serhieiev what he knows about the reason why the former president fled the country.

"He fled having left his party. He had no reasons. He could have used mechanisms provided by presence of agents from Europe, U.S., and Russia. It's not clear why he did not do that," Serhieiev says.

15:16 The prosecutor finishes the interview.

15:10 Prosecutor is asking whether the purpose of the March 3 SC meeting was to show the letter by Yanukovcych.

Serhieiev says that the letter was used as a legal and political trump card to prove it was not an act of aggression. This statement contradicted Ukraine's position stating that its territory was occupied, Serhieiev says. It made the defense of Ukraine's position more difficult.

14:56 Serhieiev says the invasion in Crimea was a violation of international law.

14:45 Prosecutor Krym is asking Serhieiev what he knows of the events in Crimea in February and March of 2014?

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Serhieiev says they were receiving information from media and sources. They in the U.N. were trying to prove this was the fact of the aggression, and Russia made one too many. He says they were trying to get Russia into isolation, and they succeded. "Our only way was that if they were having a referendum [Russia held a fake referendum in Crimea then - ed.], to make that no one recognizes it. We did it."

14:38 Serhieiev says all SC members, including China, supported Ukraine.

14:34 On March 3 Russia gathered the SC session. Churkin was sending this message that Ukrainian nationalist bandits want to seize Crimea, and Russia wants to protect its navy and citizens.

Then, Serhieiev says, Churkin took out this letter by Yanukovych and read it out. In cotrast to the address by Aksenov, the letter by Yanukovych was not only shown and read, it received a status of a U.N. document given by Russia.

14:29 To receive support in the SC, Russia showed an alleged address by Aksenov. But this position was critisized, Serhieiev says, as long as Aksenov is not entitled to invite the military.

14:24 Serhieiev says he initiated an address to head of the Security Council and the session of the Security Council. He says during the early March session of the U.N. SC, Putin was referring to a request by Aksenov, then leader of Crimea. The Russian envoy said then this address was supported by Yanukovych, but showed no proof.

14:21 Serhieiev says the events in Crimea in spring 2014 were meeting the definitions of resolution 1314 on aggression. All seven definition points were fulfilled, he says, including the "green men," seizure of military bases and governmental buildings, etc.

14:19 Prosecutor Ruslan Kravchenko is asking Serhieiev to offer his own testimony to start with.

14:16 Serhieiev says he joined protests at the embassy when Maidan beating occurred in December 2013.

Serhieiev gives an oath to tell the truth.

14:14 The witness says he is a resident of Kyiv who temporarily resides in the U.S. and teaches at Yale.

He says he had work relations with former president Yanukovych, without conflicts.

14:12 The interview of former Ukraine's envoy to U.N. Serhieiev begins.

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14:11 Yanukovych's attorney Vitalii Meshechek and judges entered the room. The trial begins.

13:59 Prosecutors Maksym Krym and Ruslan Kravchenko (right).

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13:52 Serhieiev is getting familiarized with the rights and obligations of a witness.

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13:49 Serhieiev entered the room with a lawyer and an interpreter for the lawyer, who is an American.
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