war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Russian occupation 'court' sentences Ukrainian to 12 years on mystery 'spying' charges

Halya Coynash
The Russian-controlled Crimean High Court has convicted Kostiantyn Shyrinh of mystery ‘spying’ and sentenced the 61-year-old Ukrainian to 12 years in a harsh regime prison colony

The Russian-controlled Crimean High Court has convicted Kostiantyn Shyrinh of mystery ‘spying’ and sentenced the 61-year-old Ukrainian to 12 years in a harsh regime prison colony.  Shryinh has from the outset denied the charges, and says his common-law wife was terrorised into giving false testimony against him. 

The entire ‘trial’ was behind closed doors, with even the passing of sentence on 14 October closed to the public.  Shyrinh’s lawyer is Dmitry Dinze, who has represented many Ukrainian political prisoners, however he too is prohibited from divulging information about the case.  He confirmed only that the defence had asked for a full acquittal and that they will be appealing against the sentence. 

Russia’s FSB claimed back on 15 April 2020 that they had “broken up the activities of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s Military Intelligence Department aimed at organizing and carrying out acts of sabotage – terrorism, stealing information containing state secrets and recruiting Russian citizens”.  They claimed that these ‘activities’ had been organized by Lieutenant Oleh Alisherovych Akhmedov, the head of a department of military intelligence located in Kherson.  His was the only name given, but it was stated that a Russian military servicewoman from Feodosia and a male Ukrainian citizen had been arrested.   The woman was said to have been arrested on 24 March 2020 and charged with ‘state treason’ (Article 275 of Russia’s criminal code).  The reports then said that she had ‘admitted guilt’, saying that a Ukrainian citizen, her former husband, had recruited her several years after they parted and that she had passed him documents of the military unit in which she worked.  Due to her underage child, she was placed under house arrest.

Kommersant reported on 19 May 2020 that Shyrinh, had been moved to the Lefortovo prison in Moscow and that he denied the charges against him.  

On 4 June 2021, Tatyana Kuzmenko was sentenced by the Southern District Military Court in Rostov to eight years’ imprisonment, with a deferment of two years until her daughter is 14.  Such special procedure is reportedly applied where a person is admitting the charges, with it extremely likely that she was threatened with a much longer sentence if she did not.

Russia’s FSB has staged a large number of arrests and trials of Ukrainians either on ‘spying’ charges, or accusing them of planning acts of sabotage.  The ‘spying’ cases are especially difficult to follow since no details are divulged, however there are almost certainly grounds for suspecting a grave miscarriage of justice.  This is particularly worrying here since Shyrinh is not a young man and suffers from cardiovascular problems. 

 Share this