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Russian Court Sentences Pro-Ukrainian Crimean Activist To Five Years


Activist Oleh Prykhodko, pictured in June 2020

A Russian court has sentenced a pro-Ukrainian activist from Moscow-annexed Crimea, Oleh Prykhodko, to five years in prison on terrorism charges that he and his supporters have dismissed as politically motivated.

Ukrainian Ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova said on Telegram that the Southern District Military Court in the city of Rostov-on-Don on March 3 ordered Prykhodko to pay a 110,000 ruble (around $1,500) fine.

Denisova called the court's ruling "unlawful" and "based on fabricated charges of an attempted terrorist attack and plotting an arson attack against the Russian Consulate in [Ukraine's western city of] Lviv in 2019."

"I condemn the unlawful verdict by the Russian court and consider it retaliation from the occupying government for Oleh's pro-Ukrainian stance [and] his public refusal to recognize Crimea's annexation by Russia," Denisova's statement said, while also saying that Prykhodko has a medical condition.

"I call on the international community to continue its pressure on the Russian Federation and demand the immediate release of all Kremlin critics," the statement said.

Prykhodko was detained in October 2019 and charged with illegally fabricating handmade explosives with the intention of carrying out a terrorist act.

He was charged later with possession of illegal explosives.

Prykhodko denies all the charges, calling them politically motivated.

Russia seized Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March 2014, sending in troops and staging a referendum denounced as illegitimate by at least 100 countries, after Moscow-friendly Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted amid a wave of public protests.

Rights groups say that since then Russia has moved aggressively to prosecute Ukrainian activists and anyone who questions the annexation.

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