(I thought he was on the presidential plane I was tracking to Dubai. But apparently the plane was loaded with money, gold, and valuables – as a distraction. He had a private helicopter pad in the city center. )
“Yanukovych used Russia’s aircraft to flee from Ukraine”
The man tells court Yanukovych and his guards landed at a military airfield in Crimea on the morning of February 23.
Ex-President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, who is being accused of committing treason, used Russian aircraft to move across Ukraine and then flee from country.
The judicial panel of Kyiv’s Obolon district court, which is considering the Yanukovych case, has completed the interrogation of Dmytro Ivantsov, a witness of defense, who is a former guard of the former president and who accompanied Yanukovych and fled with the latter to Russia, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
It should be noted that the testimony of the witness generally coincided with that given by his colleagues who had already testified in the Yanukovych case.
In particular, Ivantsov said that late on February 22, 2014, when Yanukovych and his guards were riding from Donetsk to Melitopol, they transferred to three military helicopters in the vicinity of Melitopol. After flying about 20 minutes, they landed at a military airfield, where they got aboard an AN-26 plane and flew to Crimea. Presiding judge Vladyslav Devyatko asked Ivantsov to specify the helicopters and the airfield. The latter confirmed that the helicopters were Russian. However, he did not specify the airfield.
In addition, Ivantsov said that on the morning of February 23, Yanukovych and his guards landed at a military airfield in Crimea and went to a resort facility near Yalta.
According to the witness, when they found out that Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (Chief of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine from February 24, 2014 to June 18, 2015), Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, and, allegedly, some armed men were looking for Yanukovych in Crimea, they moved to another facility under the guard of the Marine Corps of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
The witness also said that after the ex-president along with his guards had moved to the Kosacha (Cossack) bay in Sevastopol, Yanukovych proposed to the Department officers that they continue guarding him. Some of them agreed and fled to Russia with Yanukovych.
On 21 February, President Yanukovych signed a compromise deal with opposition leaders. It promised constitutional changes to restore certain powers to Parliament and called for early elections to be held by December.
Despite the agreement, thousands continued to protest in central Kiev, and the demonstrators took full control of the city’s government district: the parliament building, the president’s administration quarters, the cabinet, and the Interior Ministry. On 21 February, an impeachment bill was introduced in Parliament. On the same day, Yanukovych left for Kharkiv to attend a summit of southeastern regions, according to media reports.
On 22 February, the protesters were reported to be in control of Kiev, and Yanukovych was said to have fled the capital for eastern Ukraine. The parliament, or Verkhovna Rada, voted 328–0 in favour of impeaching Yanukovych and scheduled new presidential elections for 25 May.
Parliament named its speaker, Oleksandr Turchynov, as interim president on 23 February. A warrant for the arrest of Yanukovych was issued by the new government on 24 February. Over the next few days, Russian nationalist politicians and activists organised rallies in Crimea and urged Russia to help defend the region from advancing “fascists” from the rest of Ukraine.
On 28 February, Yanukovych attended a press conference in southern Russia and answered questions from mostly Russian reporters. He said that the early presidential elections scheduled for late May were illegal and that he “would not be participating in them”. He also said that while the 21 February agreement could have calmed the situation, the opposition had not agreed to it.
On 1 March, Russia’s parliament approved a request from President Vladimir Putin to deploy Russian troops to Ukraine.