Ukraine demands 15 years in jail for ousted pro-Russian president

Ukraine prosecutors say former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia after being ousted by pro-western demonstrations in 2014, should be jailed for 15 years

Ukraine's Prosecutor General's office on Thursday said had it demanded a 15-year prison sentence for ousted ex-president Viktor Yanukovych, accused by Kiev 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 stand-off.

"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.

"Like the last coward 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."

"I ask for Viktor Fedorovich Yanukovych to be punished with a 15-year sentence," the prosecutor said.

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

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

After Yanukovych fled Ukraine, Moscow annexed the country's Crimea peninsula and war erupted between Kiev and Russian-backed rebels in the east of the country.

Since then, the fighting has cost some 10,000 lives despite repeated international efforts to forge a lasting ceasefire.