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Chechen Court Sentences Ukrainian Nationalist

A member of a Ukrainian nationalist group has been sentenced in Russia to 24 1/2 years in prison for fighting with Chechen separatists against Russian troops in the mid-1990s.

Chechnya's Shatoi district court found Oleksandr Malofeyev guilty on September 29 of being a member of the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self-defense (UNA-UNSO) and killing Russian federal troops in Chechnya from 1994 to 1996.

Malofeyev pleaded guilty and testified against two other alleged members of UNA-UNSO, Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh, whose case Chechnya's Supreme Court started hearing on September 16.

Investigators say Karpyuk and Klykh took part in military activities in Chechnya that left dozens of Russian soldiers dead and injured.

The whereabouts of the two Ukrainians is unclear.

Some reports say they were both arrested in Russia last year, although others say one was kidnapped inside Ukraine.

Where they have been held up until the start of the trial is also unknown.

Kyiv said it asked Moscow to allow Ukrainian officials to visit Karpyuk and Klykh, but Russian officials have denied the requests.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax