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In Ukraine, Both Sides To Appeal Verdicts In Tornado Battalion Case

Members of the Tornado battalion appeared in the Kyiv court.

KYIV -- Ukrainian prosecutors and defense lawyers have both vowed to appeal the verdicts and prison sentences handed down to former members of the disbanded Tornado battalion.

On April 7, a court in Kyiv convicted 12 former battalion members guilty of committing crimes including beatings, torture, and sexual assault against residents in the eastern Luhansk region in early 2015.

Eight defendants were sentenced to prison terms ranging from eight to 11 years, and four were handed suspended five-year terms.

After a trial that lasted over a year, both sides are dissatisfied with the rulings. Prosecutors say the sentences were too mild, while the defense contends they were too harsh.

The investigation was launched after the battalion was disbanded following allegations that members were illegally incarcerating and torturing residents in the Luhansk region, where government forces have been fighting Russia-backed separatists since 2014.