Moscow – Russia on Thursday handed long jail sentences to a Ukrainian man and another individual for financing an ultranationalist group in Ukraine by selling illegal drugs.
Thousands of Russians have been detained for protesting Russia’s large-scale military campaign against Ukraine and authorities have handed out long jail terms to people accused of providing material support to Ukraine.
The court in Saint Petersburg said Ukrainian citizen Alexander Tsepelev and Alexander Pankratyev whose nationality was not specified were guilty of “financing extremist activities”, jailing them for 16 and 17 years respectively.
“The defendants pleaded guilty in full,” the court said.
It added that the men had produced mephedrone, an amphetamine-type drug, in an apartment in southern Saint Petersburg, transferring the money from its sale to Pravy Sector.
Tsepelev was aware that Russia had labelled the Pravy Sector extremist and shared its criminal goals and ideology, the court said.
He transferred more than 1 000 000 rubles ($11,000) to the group through an intermediary between November 2021 and February 24, 2022 when Russia launched its assault on Ukraine.
Ukrainian far-right group Pravy Sektor made a name for itself during the Maidan protests in Kyiv in early 2014, before evolving into a political party.
Thousands of its members fought against Kremlin-backed separatists in east Ukraine in the wake of the pro-democracy protests. They were later absorbed into the regularly Ukrainian military.
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