Ukraine Sentences Opposition Member to Prison for Pro-Russian Views

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In Ukraine, a court has handed down a five-year prison sentence to an unnamed member of a prohibited opposition party for expressing pro-Russian sentiments in private discussions. This individual, previously associated with the Cherkasy City Council and later employed as an aide to a Member of Parliament, faced legal repercussions for their views.

The Opposition Platform– For Life party had its operations suspended by Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council in March 2022, citing allegations of serving Moscow’s interests. Subsequently, a court decision led to the party’s prohibition a few months later.

Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General disclosed the defendant’s conviction via their Telegram channel, stating that the individual was found “guilty of endorsing Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine and venerating its participants.”

Prosecutors revealed that the former council member voiced pro-Russian sentiments “in conversations with close relatives and acquaintances,” praising Russia’s actions in Ukraine and personally admiring President Vladimir Putin.

Additionally, a similar case involved a 62-year-old woman from Cherkasy, Central Ukraine. Officials accused her of justifying RUssia’s actions and likening the Ukrainian government to the Nazis during a phone conversation with a friend.

Viktor Medvedchuk, the former leader of the now-banned Opposition Platform– For Life, faced high treason charges in 2020 for his Moscow visit, where he met top Russian officials. Initially under house arrest, Medvedchuk fled around the time of Russia’s military action against Ukraine in late February 2022. He was later recaptured and handed over to Moscow in a prisoner swap deal last September.

Despite being in exile, Medvedchuk continues to critique President Zelensky’s administration. Recently, he criticized the leadership in Kiev, branding them as “not just bad negotiators, but criminal amateurs.” He accused Zelensky of sacrificing Ukrainians after promising Western aid and avoiding peace talks with Moscow, claiming that such discussions would bring about political and criminal consequences for the Ukrainian president, likely leading to challenging inquiries from citizens.

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