Yanukovych, Azarov to be tried in absentia for signing of Kharkiv Pact

Yanukovych, Azarov to be tried in absentia for signing of Kharkiv Pact

Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigation has submitted to the court an indictment against former President Viktor Yanukovych and former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov on charges of treason and aiding Russia in carrying out subversive activities against Ukraine.

That's according to the SBI's press service, Ukrinform reports.

According to SBI investigators, in 2010, the ex-president received instructions from the Russian leadership to extend the stay of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea and Sevastopol. According to basic agreements signed by Ukraine and Russia in 1997, this term was to expire in 2017.

Earlier, Ukraine confirmed its intention not to prolong the term of these agreements and prepared a bilateral memorandum on the withdrawal of the Russian fleet.

Russia ignored an official request from Ukraine. Using energy blackmail, the Russians decided to force the then Ukrainian leadership to extend the stay of the Russian fleet in Crimea. This later led to the annexation of the peninsula, the SBI said.

In April 2010, in Russia's Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, the Ukrainian delegation led by the prime minister received the final text of the draft agreement extending the presence of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine.

Then, at a closed meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the prime minister and the foreign minister assured those present about the necessity and importance of signing this agreement allegedly in the country's economic interests, because receiving a discount on the price of Russian gas is a necessity in view of the state of the national economy.

In addition to violating the Constitution of Ukraine and a number of laws, the agreement, in fact, provided for the placement of a new military base in Ukraine and actually introduced new rules for extending the period of stay of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine.

"Hurrying to please Russia, Yanukovych in a matter of days submitted a draft law on the ratification of the agreement as urgent for extraordinary consideration by the Verkhovna Rada, and on April 27, 2010, the decision was adopted by MPs," the SBI said.

As a result of the criminal actions of the then Ukrainian leadership, Russia increased the number of its troops and military equipment in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol. The enemy then used these forces to occupy the peninsula in 2014.

The investigation also documented more than UAH 1.08 trillion worth of damage done to the state by the ex-leadership of Ukraine due to the signing of the Kharkiv Pact.

The former state leaders are charged with committing treason and aiding the Russian Federation in carrying out subversive activities against Ukraine (Part 2 of Article 28, Part 1 of Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

The Prosecutor General's Office is carrying out procedural guidance.

In April 2023, Ukraine's Constitutional Court opened proceedings in the case of the constitutionality of the agreement of April 21, 2010 between Ukraine and Russia regarding the stay of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine.

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