17 years for pro-Ukraine photo & burning the flag of an unrecognized Russian-backed ‘republic’
Vlad [Vladyslav] Ovcharenko spent his 21st birthday on November 24 in a Luhansk SIZO [remand prison]. He had only recently been allowed a brief visit from his parents for the first time since he was ‘arrested’ over 13 months ago for a flash-mob with the Ukrainian flag and for burning the flag of the self-proclaimed ‘Luhansk people’s republic’ [LPR]. This the Russian-backed LPR ‘ministry of state security’ termed ‘spying’, sentencing the young man to 17 years’ imprisonment. His friend and fellow football fan Artem Akhmerov got 13 years.
Russian-backed Donbas militants are keeping 5 teenagers imprisoned on ‘sabotage’ charges
Five teenagers, as young as 15 when seized, have been held in captivity in the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ [DPR] for well over a year. Both the DPR militants and Russia made propaganda uses out of forced ‘confessions’ from the young lads immediately after their seizure, but appear to be simply holding them imprisoned
Ukrainian judge blocks pension for severely disabled son of religious scholar held hostage in Donbas
Almost two years after renowned academic Ihor Kozlovskyy was seized by militants from the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s republic’, a judge in Kyiv has demanded that he be summoned to court before agreeing to reinstate his paralyzed son Slava’s pension. The fact that his family is seeking to make Slava’s mother a second guardian because his father is in captivity was “of no interest” to judge Lyudmila Kizyun..
Ukrainian political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh released under ‘insane’ house arrest
After being jailed in Russian-occupied Crimea for almost a year on flagrantly falsified charges, Ukrainian activist and farmer Volodymyr Balukh has been placed under house arrest. While Balukh’s elderly mother is, of course, overjoyed, Balukh himself called the ruling ‘insane’, since it prohibits him from leaving the house (or using the Internet). “Can you imagine it? My mother will be spreading manure, looking after the farm, while I sit at home.
Russia jails four respected Crimean Tatars and spreads lies about ‘machine guns & drugs’ to discredit the Mejlis
Any doubt that the FSB arrests in Russian-occupied Crimea on November 23 which caused the death of Vedzhie Kashka, 83-year-old veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement, were a special operation aimed at discrediting Crimean Tatars and theMejlis have been dispelled. Russian and Kremlin-loyal Crimean media have come out with lies about supposed “ammunition, drugs and material of an extremist nature” found during the searches “of Mejlis” members.
Another Crimean Tatar taken away ‘voluntarily’ after armed search
The whereabouts are unknown of Mustafa Mustafaev who was taken away by the armed and masked men who burst into the home he shares with his wife, a teacher of Crimean Tatar, and their sons. Crimean Tatar activists also report the worrying shots fired at a Crimean Tatar man’s home and view it as another form of intimidation.
Putin ‘supports’ large-scale exchange of hostages held in Donbas
It remains to be seen whether reports from Moscow of ‘support’ for an exchange of prisoners signify movement or imitation of progress. Families who have been waiting 1,000 days or longer for the men’s return have had their hopes dashed too often before and many of the hostages are facing their second or third cold and hungry winter in captivity
Donetsk man gets 10-year sentence for Twitter photos of Russian military equipment
A ‘military tribunal’ in the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ [DPR] has passed a 10-year sentence on a 43-year-old Ukrainian for what it calls ‘spying’. Although few details are given, it seems possible that the person is Valery Nedosekin, a college director at the Donetsk Academy of Motor Transport. If so, then the sentence would be for tweeting photos which show Russian military technology where it has no right to be,
Russia wages major offensive against Crimean Tatar civic activists in occupied Crimea
One Crimean Tatar activist has been jailed for a legal solitary picket last month, another fined and several subjected to armed searches and interrogation in a new offensive against the civic initiative Crimean Solidarity and all those trying to publicize rights abuses in Russian-occupied Crimea.
Russia uses isolation, threats & closed trial to hide the one ’state secret’ of its Crimea sabotage plot
The trial of at least one of the Sevastopol Ukrainians whom Russia has accused of a ‘sabotage plot’ could be held behind closed doors. The excuse given is that the case allegedly involves material containing state secrets. Scepticism is inevitable given the heavy pressure placed on the men to reject independent lawyers and admit ‘guilt’ and the fact that one of the men has already been sentenced on charges that bore no relation to the ‘confession on video’ that he gave, when showing obvious signs of having been beaten.
New surreal confessions from Ukrainian ‘SBU agent’ seized by Russia backed Donbas militants
Oleksandr Polishchuk’s ‘confessions’ on video would elicit humour were it not for the regular reports of unnamed ‘spies’ and ‘saboteurs’ being sentenced to up to 22 years’’ imprisonment. DPR leader Oleksandr Zakharchenko has also recently suggested that people he called ‘spies’ might simply be shot.
Russian ‘Donetsk republic’ propagandist seized – or killed - in Donbas after speaking too freely
While media reports of Roman Manekin’s brutal murder remain unconfirmed, there seems no doubt that the prominent Russian journalist and propagandist for the so-called ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ [DPR] was taken prisoner shortly after strong criticism of at least one of the ‘DPR’ leaders. There are also reports that the reason for his disappearance may lie in his denial of the official militant line on the killing of Russian warlord Arseny Pavlov, more notorious as ‘Motorola’.
Luhansk militants sentence 2 young football fans to 17 & 13 years for ’spying for Ukraine’
Two young football fans seized by militants from the self-proclaimed ‘Luhansk people’s republic’ [LPR] in October 2016 have been ‘sentenced’ to 17 and 13 years. 21-year-old Vlad Ovcharenko and 20-year-old Artem Akhmerov were accused of spying for Ukraine over protests against the ‘LPR flag’, photos with the national flag of Ukraine and following Ovcharenko’s criticism of the militants to a German correspondent
Mass detention for reporting armed searches and arrests in Russian occupied Crimea
Armed searches began early in the morning of October 11 in a number of Crimean Tatar homes in Bakhchysarai. This was a clear attempt at intimidation, with the six Crimean Tatars primarily people who have taken a firm civic stand and demonstrated solidarity where others faced searches and arrests
Russia abducts and ’arrests’ two Ukrainian border guards
There seems no let-up in Russian abductions of Ukrainian citizens of late, however the seizure of two border guards on October 3 stands apart, both because this is a brazen abduction of state officials, and because of the fairly obvious motive.
Russia abducts activist from Ukraine, charges him with involvement in Ukrainian organization
Oleksandr Shumkov has become the latest Ukrainian to be abducted to Russia and imprisoned. There is a major question mark over how the 28-year-old civic activist came to be in Russia, but it would be difficult to dispute the surreal nature of the charges. The Ukrainian is accused of involvement in a Ukrainian organization that only Russia calls ‘extremist’, and that is entirely legal in Ukraine
Moscow Patriarchate refuses to help Ukrainian academic & advocate of religious dialogue jailed by Donbas militants
World-renowned Ukrainian academic and advocate for inter-faith dialogue, Ihor Kozlovskyy has been imprisoned in the so-called ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ since January 2016 because he remained in Donetsk to care for his disabled son. This is hardly a proper reason, but then neither are the absurd charges that the militants came up with after holding the retired university lecturer incommunicado for a month
Prisoners of war captured defending Ukraine abandoned & in danger of fake ’trials’
There is an urgent need for Ukraine to formally recognize the soldiers who were taken prisoner by Russian or Russian-backed fighters as prisoners of war, yet Ukraine’s parliament is procrastinating on this, and on other measures to coordinate efforts to bring the men back home
Crimean Tatar abducted after ‘search’ by masked men in Russian-occupied Crimea
Renat Paralamov has not been seen since masked men carried out what they claimed to be an ‘inspection’ of his home in Nizhnegorsk, in Russian-occupied Crimea. Even if, as seems likely, the Russian FSB is behind this latest seizure, there is every reason to consider that their treatment of the young Crimean Tatar should be viewed as an abduction
Luhansk man arrested by Russia-backed militants for organizing a protest on social media
A young Luhansk resident has been taken prisoner by the Kremlin-backed militants of the self-proclaimed ‘Luhansk people’s republic’ [LPR] for proposing a protest action on his VKontakte social network page