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Ukrainian National Gets 12 Years In Prison In Moscow On Espionage Charges

Vasyl Vasylenko attends a court hearing in Moscow on December 7.

A Ukrainian national and former professional soccer player has received 12 years in prison in Russia on espionage charges.

The Moscow City Court on December 7 found Vasyl Vasylenko guilty of spying and sentenced him the same day.

Vasylenko was arrested in October 2019 on suspicion of smuggling unspecified dangerous materials, weapons, and valuable cultural items.

The charge was later amended to espionage.

The materials in the case are classified. No other details have been made public.

Vasylenko has not commented publicly on the case because of the classification.

Russia has arrested and convicted several Ukrainian nationals on espionage charges in recent years.

Relations between Moscow and Kyiv have been tense since 2014 when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and began backing separatists in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has left more than 13,200 people dead.

Based on reporting by RIA Novosti and Interfax