Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was reportedly injured the day before his final address at the Obolonskyi District Court of Kyiv city, where he is being tried for high treason.
He was hospitalized on Friday, November 16, although news of this only came out on Sunday, RIA Novosti reports.
“He was, but he is not with us any more. He came on Friday, was given assistance, and was discharged on the same day,” the Sklifosovsky Emergency Care Institute in Moscow told the news outlet.
According to Channel 5, Yanukovych was taken to the medical facility from a tennis club in Moscow with a knee injury.
Alexander Goroshinsky, one of Yanukovych’s attorneys, told Hromadske in a comment that the former president will not make his final statement in the high treason case due to a “severe injury”.
“I was in Moscow on Friday. I went to discuss the matter of his participation in the video conference (in which Yanukovych was meant to say his final word). I met with him in the hospital. I cannot state the diagnosis specifically, that would be incorrect. But the injury is quite severe and he is unable to move,” the attorney said, adding that Yanukovych was still in hospital on November 18.
Goroshinsky explained that being hospitalized with a severe injury is a respectable reason for non-appearance in court.
When asked how Yanukovych was injured, the attorney merely said that it was a sport-related incident.
Goroshinsky also pointed out that neither himself nor Yanukovych’s other attorney, Alexander Baydyk, have yet been registered for activity in Russia, which means that they would be unable to protect Yanukovych’s interests when he appears in court through a video conference from Russia.
“When I will receive the registration – I don’t know. This depends on the Russian Justice Ministry. But this procedure could be expedited, I have already submitted an application for expediting,” the attorney added.
The Obolonskyi District Court of Kyiv city was scheduled to hear Yanukovych give his final address and then go to the jury room to deliver the verdict on November 19. Presiding Judge Vladyslav said that Ukrainian legislation allows the court to forego hearing the defendant’s final address if the trial is being held in absentia. However, in this situation the court has chosen to be guided by the standards of the Convention on Human Rights, and has given Yanukovych permission to give his final address through video conferencing.
The session was scheduled for 10:00 on November 19, and the court does not intend to delay or cancel it.