Ukrainian court sentences ex-president Yanukovych in absentia to 13 years in prison

A Ukrainian court on Thursday sentenced former president Viktor Yanukovich in absentia to 13 years in jail on treason charges, Reuters reports. According to a judge, his conduct in office had opened the door to Crimea’s unification with Russia and conflict in eastern Ukraine. Yanukovich fled to Russia in 2014 following street protests against his rule. He was succeeded by Petro Poroshenko, who has adopted a pro-Western foreign policy. Poroshenko’s popularity has eroded since then. Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, who launched her bid for the presidency on Tuesday, is seen as a favorite in the March 31 vote to unseat the incumbent president.