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Russia jails Ukrainian journalist for 12 years for spying

Russia’s FSB Security Service detained Roman Sushchenko (49) in 2016 after he flew into Moscow from Paris where he worked as a correspondent for Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform.

Journalist Roman Sushchenko, who worked for Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform for over a decade, gestures in the court in Moscow on 4 June 2018. Picture: AFP

MOSCOW - A Russian court sentenced a Ukrainian journalist, Roman Sushchenko, to 12 years in jail on Monday after convicting him of spying for his native Ukraine, his lawyer said, a move likely to further sour ties between Moscow and Kiev.

Relations between the two powers have been tense since 2014 when, after a popular uprising toppled Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Russia annexed the Crimea region from Ukraine and a pro-Russian separatist insurgency erupted in the country’s east.

Russia’s FSB Security Service detained Sushchenko (49) in 2016 after he flew into Moscow from Paris where he worked as a correspondent for Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform.

He was accused of gathering secrets about Russia’s military, charges which he has denied.

Mark Feygin, his lawyer, said on Monday a Moscow court had found his client guilty of espionage and sentenced him to 12 years in a maximum security prison. Feygin said he would appeal against the verdict on Tuesday.

He posted a picture of his client being held in a glass courtroom cage shortly before the verdict was announced.