VITEBSK, Belarus -- A court has sentenced a Belarusian man to a two-year suspended sentence for fighting alongside Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The court in the eastern city of Vitebsk on September 26 found Alyaksey Yarshou, 29, guilty of illegally participating in armed conflicts abroad.
The trial was held behind closed doors.
The prosecution is the first known case involving a Belarusian citizen found to be fighting alongside separatists, whom Russia has backed with irregular forces and heavy weaponry.
In two earlier cases, two Belarusian men were found guilty of fighting alongside Ukraine's armed forces in the conflict, which has killed at least 10,000 people since erupting more than three years ago.
Large-scale fighting in the region, known as the Donbas, has mainly ebbed, though outbreaks of intense fighting have periodically broken out.