Russia officially granted asylum to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych now lives in Russia under a grant of temporary asylum. This was announced by the ex-president’s lawyer Vitaliy Serdyuk on Thursday, October 13th. Serdyuk received information from the General Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation on September 29th in response to his request. Interfax-Ukraine released a fragment of the official response that stated "Certificate of temporary asylum granting in the Russian Federation, serial number VU 0107999, issued by the Federal Migration Service of Russia in the Rostov region.”

According to Serdyuk, Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine blamed the lack of official data on the whereabouts of Yanukovych for the delays in the investigation of “the case of Maidan”. In particular, on September 2, 2016 the Prosecutor General of Ukraine rejected the request to interrogate President Petro Poroshenko and former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk as witnesses to the absence of official confirmation of Yanukovych’s stay in Russia. Now, according to Serdyuk, the Prosecutor General’s Office "has lost the last argument to stop further investigation."

On a related note, the certificate of temporary asylum effectively disproves rumors that Yanukovych has changed citizenship.

Between the end of 2013 and the start of 2014, demonstrators and security forces clashed at Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) in Kyiv, resulting in the deaths of over a hundred people. Current Ukrainian authorities accused Viktor Yanukovych and the "Berkut" Special Forces within the Ministry of Internal Affairs of being responsible for the deaths. Yanukovych claims that he did not order anyone to shoot at peaceful demonstrators. Former Berkut soldiers also deny any involvement in the deaths of protesters.

  Ukraine, Russia, Yanukovych