A court has rejected the appeal of a 61-year-old Ukrainian national who was convicted of espionage in Russia-annexed Crimea last year.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said on February 4 that Kostyantyn Shyring would begin serving his sentence immediately after losing his appeal against the 12-year prison sentence handed to him last year.
Russia has arrested dozens of people in Crimea and across Russia on charges that include espionage, extremism, and terrorism, since it annexed Crimea in March 2014, sending in troops and staging a referendum denounced as illegitimate by at least 100 countries.
Rights groups have said that, after imposing its control over the peninsula, Moscow aggressively moved to prosecute Ukrainian activists and anyone who questioned the annexation.
Shyring was arrested in Ukraine’s Russia-controlled Black Sea peninsula in March 2020 and charged with collecting classified data on Russian military personnel in Crimea through an accomplice, a Russian woman who served in the Russian armed forces. The woman was handed an 8-year prison sentence in June.
Ukrainian authorities have called on Russian authorities to immediately release Shyring.
Ukrainian Ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova has condemned Shyring’s conviction, calling it “an illegal action and the continuation of political repression by the occupying authorities against Ukrainians.”
Russia also backs separatists in a war against Ukrainian government forces that has killed more than 13,200 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.