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Ukraine Demands 15-Year Sentence for Ousted President


FILE - Former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych speaks at a news conference in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Nov. 25, 2016.

Ukraine's prosecutor general's office on Thursday said had it demanded a 15-year prison sentence for former President Viktor Yanukovych, accusing him of "betraying his nation" to Russia.

Pro-Moscow Yanukovych has lived in exile in Russia since he was ousted in a Western-backed popular uprising in 2014, and it is highly unlikely he will ever face trial as the two countries remain locked in a bitter standoff.

"Viktor Yanukovych betrayed his nation. He betrayed his army. At the most difficult time for the country and the people," prosecutors said in court, according to a statement.

"He left the country at the mercy of fate and fled into the arms of the aggressor," it said. "Without a drop of remorse, in order to please the enemy, he did everything in his power for Ukrainian territory to be seized by the aggressor."

Yanukovych sparked massive protests when he ditched an association accord with the European Union and then fled to Russia in early 2014 after a bloody crackdown in Kyiv failed to quell the demonstrations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin later revealed this was made possible by a special operation organized by Moscow to exfiltrate Yanukovych.

After Yanukovych fled Ukraine, Moscow annexed the country's Crimean Peninsula and war erupted between Kyiv and Russian-backed rebels in the east of the country.

Since then, the fighting has cost 10,000 lives despite repeated international efforts to forge a lasting cease-fire.

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