Europe

Ukraine ex-president Yanukovych speaks to court via video

Kiev court session, 25 Nov 16 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Yanukovych only gave a short opening address before the trial was adjourned

The former Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, has spoken to a Ukrainian court via video link from southern Russia, in a trial of five ex-policemen accused of shooting protesters in 2014.

But the Kiev trial was soon adjourned because protesting nationalists prevented the five being brought to court from their remand prison.

Mr Yanukovych is now expected to testify as a witness on Monday.

He fled to Russia after three months of mass protests on Kiev's Maidan Square.

More than 100 people were killed during the clashes between anti-government demonstrators and Ukrainian security forces in February 2014.

The Maidan protests began when Mr Yanukovych first announced he was suspending a planned trade deal with the EU, under pressure from Russia.

Ukraine country profile

Yanukovych regrets Ukraine bloodshed

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Many Ukrainians hold Mr Yanukovych (centre) personally responsible for the 2014 shootings

Ukrainian prosecutors allege that the Berkut riot police opened fire on the orders of a Kiev police commander - former Ukrainian Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko. He also fled to Russia during the unrest.

The five Berkut officers have been charged over the deaths of 48 Maidan activists. They deny the accusation.

Mr Yanukovych was backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. After the turmoil in Kiev the unrest spread, and Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014.

"It was my own initiative to act as a witness in this case. This is my personal decision. Therefore I am interested in the truth being established in the case," he told the Kiev court.

More on this story