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Nephew Of Russian Propagandist Kiselyov On Trial In Germany Over Ukraine War

Dmitry Kiselyov is one of Russia's most powerful media figures. (file photo)
Dmitry Kiselyov is one of Russia's most powerful media figures. (file photo)

A nephew of Dmitry Kiselyov, a Russian state media boss known for fiery anti-Western diatribes, is on trial in Germany on a charge of planning to take part in military activities alongside Russia-backed separatists fighting Kyiv's forces in eastern Ukraine.

A court in Munich opened the trial of Kiselyov's nephew, a German citizen whose name was spelled Sergej Kisseljow by German media, on February 27.

Investigators say Kisseljow, 48, went through military training in the Russian city of St. Petersburg in August 2014.

He is accused of the preparation of a crime threatening a sovereign country's state security and illegally possessing firearms. German citizens can be prosecuted and punished for this crime, including in cases in which it is committed outside the country.

German authorities began investigations against Kisseljow in late 2017, and he was detained in Bulgaria several months later and deported to Germany.

The UN estimates some 13,000 people -- one-quarter of them civilians -- have been killed since April 2014 in the war between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists who hold parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The conflict erupted after Moscow-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia in February 2014 in the face of mass protests known as the Maidan, and Russia seized control of the Crimean Peninsula.

Kisseljow's uncle Dmitry Kiselyov said earlier that his nephew would be facing trial in Germany for fighting against Ukrainian armed forces in Ukraine's east, where he was decorated with a pro-Russia separatists' medal.

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Dmitry Kiselyov, head of the state-owned media company Rossia Segodnya, is best known for the propaganda against Washington and the West that he issues frequently on the weekly news show he hosts.

On February 23, Kiselyov ran a segment that showed a map of the United States depicting targets he said would be hit in the event of a nuclear war, including the Pentagon and the U.S. presidential retreat Camp David outside Washington.

With reporting by RTVI, Die Welt, OstWest, and DW

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