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Belarusian Who Fought Against Ukraine Separatists Jailed

  • RFE/RL's Belarus Service

Taras Avatarau was detained in November when he arrived in Minsk on a train from Ukraine.

Taras Avatarau was detained in November when he arrived in Minsk on a train from Ukraine.

A Belarusian national accused of fighting alongside Ukraine's extremist Right Sector has been sentenced by a district court in Minsk to five years in prison.

Taras Avatarau, a resident of the eastern Belarusian city of Navapolatsk, was found guilty on charges of trafficking weapons and explosive devices.

Avatarau, whose trial began on April 18, was detained in November when he arrived in Minsk on a train from Ukraine.

Authorities said they seized a pistol and an explosive device from him at the time of his arrest.

According to the investigators, Avatarau fought as a volunteer alongside Right Sector in battles against Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine's eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Right Sector was one of many groups across Ukraine's political spectrum that took part in the Kyiv street protests that toppled former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.

The Right Sector has been banned in Russia as a terrorist organization.

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