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Russia's FSB Says It Deported Ukrainian Spy

The FSB said that Leonid Kaplun was detained while entering the southwestern Voronezh region from neighboring Ukraine. (file photo of FSB headquarters in Moscow)

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) says it has deported a man it it says is an agent of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) who planned to collect information about Russian military forces in Crimea.

The FSB's directorate in the southwestern Voronezh region said on January 16 that Leonid Kaplun was detained while entering the region from neighboring Ukraine.

It said he was deported later in the day and barred from entering Russia for 20 years.

The FSB said that Kaplun, who it said worked at a transportation company and often visited Crimea, was not charged with espionage because he was not able to carry out his alleged mission. It did not say what that alleged mission was.

Kyiv and rights activists say Russia has jailed several Ukrainians on trumped-up, politically motivated charges since Moscow seized Crimea in 2014 and threw its support behind armed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

In 2017, the European Parliament called on Russia to free more than 30 Ukrainian citizens who were in prison or other conditions of restricted freedom in Russia, Crimea, and parts of eastern Ukraine that are controlled by Russia-backed separatists.

The list included Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko, who was sentenced to 12 years in a high-security prison in June on espionage charges in Moscow, and filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who is serving a 20-year sentence in a Russian prison after being convicted of plotting terrorist attacks in a trial supporters called absurd.

The list, which the parliament statement said was not complete, also included several leaders of the Crimean Tatar minority, which rights groups say has faced abuse and discrimination since Russia's takeover of the Ukrainian peninsula.

Based on reporting by RIA Novosti and Interfax