Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russia's Supreme Court Upholds 14-Year Prison Sentences For 'Ukrainian Saboteurs'

Oleksiy Bessarabov (left) and Volodymyr Dudka in court earlier this year.
Oleksiy Bessarabov (left) and Volodymyr Dudka in court earlier this year.

Russia's Supreme Court has upheld 14-year prison sentences handed down to two Ukrainian men for plotting sabotage in Ukraine's Russian-occupied Crimea.

The court said that the sentences for Oleksiy Bessarabov and Volodymyr Dudka will take effect with the pronouncement of its decision on October 15.

Dudka, Bessarabov, and a third Ukrainian, Dmytro Shtyblykov, were arrested in Crimea in November 2016 and charged with attempted sabotage.

At the time of their arrests, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) accused the three of being members of a Ukrainian "saboteur group from the main intelligence directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry."

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry rejected the allegations, calling them "another fabrication of the Russian secret services aimed at justifying its own repressive measures against local residents and discrediting Ukraine in the international arena."

Shtyblykov was tried separately. In November 2017, the Sevastopol City Court found him guilty of attempted sabotage and illegally possessing weapons. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

Human rights activists say Russia-installed authorities in Crimea have jailed numerous Ukrainian citizens on politically motivated charges since Russian military forces occupied the Ukrainian peninsula in early 2014 and, less than a month later, seized the territory through a dubious referendum.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.