Accessibility links

Breaking News

Ukrainian Blogger Jailed After Campaigning Against Army Draft

IVANO-FRANKIVSK, Ukraine -- A court in Ukraine has sentenced a blogger to prison who had urged conscientious objectors not to fight against Russia-backed separatists in the country’s east.

The Ivano-Frankivsk City Court in western Ukraine found Ruslan Kotsaba, 49, guilty of obstructing the country’s armed forces on May 12 and sentenced him to 3 1/2 years in jail.

The judge ruled that the time Kotsaba spent in pretrial detention since his arrest in February 2015 must be counted as "one day for two." Therefore, it is considered that Kotsaba has already served two years, six months, and eight days of his sentence.

Kotsaba was arrested after he posted a 12-minute video urging people to dodge the military draft. The clip was viewed more than 300,000 times.

Kotsaba's lawyer, Ihor Sulyma, told RFE/RL that his client's sentence will be appealed.

With reporting by AFP
  • 16x9 Image

    RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

    RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service has seen its audience grow significantly since Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022 and is among the most cited media outlets in the country. Its bold, in-depth reporting from the front lines has won many accolades and awards. Its comprehensive coverage also includes award-winning reporting by the Donbas.Realities and Crimea.Realities projects and the Schemes investigative unit.