The Kremlin critic Ilya Yashin has been sentenced to many years in prison after criticizing the military offensive in Ukraine for spreading "false information" about the Russian army. The 39-year-old was found guilty by a Moscow court on Friday. He was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison, the AFP news agency reported from the courtroom. The public prosecutor had demanded nine years in prison for Yashin. The Kremlin critics reacted with laughter to the verdict.
Yashin was arrested in June after denouncing the "murder of civilians" in Bucha, Ukraine, in a YouTube video. Moscow denies any attacks in the Ukrainian town near Kyiv.
Yashin is one of the last remaining vocal critics of the leadership in Russia. Even his arrest did not prevent him from sharply criticizing the authorities and denouncing the military intervention in Ukraine. He is considered an ally of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny and was also close to opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated near the Kremlin in 2015.
Yashin is now to serve his sentence in a penal camp, the court ruled. However, he has ten days to appeal the verdict.
After the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the Russian authorities tightened the laws in order to be able to take more action against critical voices. Several people have already been sentenced to several years in prison for allegations of spreading "false information" or "discrediting" the Russian army.