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Kazakh Citizen Sentenced To Prison For Fighting In Luhansk

A Kazakh citizen has been sentenced to five years in prison for fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The Sary-Arqa District Court in the Kazakh capital, Astana, found Yevgeny Vdovenko guilty of intentional and illegal participation in a military conflict abroad.

Vdovenko, 30, was arrested in October and went on trial on December 12.

Investigators say he took part in military operations in Ukraine, used weapons, guarded checkpoints, and patrolled the city of Luhansk, one of two provincial capitals held by separatists whose conflict with government forces has killed more than 4,700 people since April.

Vdovenko pleaded "partially guilty," saying that he did not go to Ukraine to kill people or overthrow a government.

"I went there to help the local people," he said.

Vdovenko served three years in jail between 2009 and 2012 for robbery and illegal weapons possession.

Based on reporting by KazTAG and Kazinform