A Russian court has sentenced a pro-Ukrainian activist from annexed Crimea to five years in a maximum-security penal colony and one year in prison on terrorism charges, Interfax reported.
Oleg Prikhodko, 62, openly opposed Russia’s annexation of Crimea, hung the Ukrainian flag from his house and refused to switch his license plates to Russian ones, the Current Time news site reported.
Russia’s Southern District Military Court found Prikhodko guilty Wednesday on charges of planning terrorist attacks in the Crimean town of Saki and the Ukrainian city of Lviv. He has been ordered to pay a fine of 110,000 rubles ($1,500) in addition to his prison sentence.
Prikhodko pleaded not guilty to the charges and maintains that he is not part of any extremist or terrorist group.
Prosecutors had requested an 11-year sentence and a 200,000-ruble fine.
Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers detained Prikhodko in October 2019 on charges of illegal explosives manufacture and attempting to commit a terrorist act. The FSB described him as “an adherent of Nazi ideology who is a member of Ukrainian extremist organizations.”
During searches of his garage, FSB officers found an improvised explosive device, Molotov cocktails and tools for making the homemade explosives, the RBC news website reported. Prikhodko claims the explosives were planted there by the authorities.
Officers also seized Ukrainian symbols, flags of the nationalist Svoboda party, red and black flags and a portrait of Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera as well as a computer and CDs from his home.
Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 in a move that ignited fierce backlash and sanctions from the international community. Under Russia’s control, hundreds of people on the peninsula, mainly Crimean Tatars, have been jailed on terrorism charges, drawing criticism from rights groups who say Moscow is locking up ideological opponents.
Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have also been waging a conflict against Ukrainian forces since 2014, with more than 13,000 lives lost so far.