Kiev court sentences suspected Russian soldiers to 14 years in prison

Russian citizens Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov.

Russian citizens Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov.

Sergei Reznik / TASS
Judges find men guilty of terrorism and conducting aggressive war

The collegium of judges of the Kiev Holosiyivskiy District Court has found Russian citizens Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov guilty of committing several grave crimes.

"Yerofeyev and Alexandrov are found guilty [...] of conducting an aggressive war by the previous concert of a group of people, assisting the activities of a terrorist organization by the previous concert of a group of people [...] committing a terrorist attack [...], use of weapons to provoke a military conflict by the previous concert of a group of people," a representative of the collegium of judges read out a part of the judgment on April 18.

The verdict also holds that both Russians were found guilty of smuggling, illegal crossing of the Ukrainian state border, illegal weapons storage and circulation.

The court has sentenced both men to 14 years in prison each.

"Yerofeyev is found guilty of the crimes ... and is to be punished for the totality of the crimes by having the least penalty absorbed by a harsher one, with the court determining the final penalty for Yerofeyev in the form of 14 years of imprisonment with a confiscation of all the assets owned by the convict," reads the verdict.

"Alexandrov is found guilty... and is to be punished for the totality of the crimes by having the least penalty absorbed by a harsher one, with the court determining the final penalty for Alexandrov in the form of 14 years of imprisonment with a confiscation of all the assets owned by the convict," reads the verdict.

Also, under Article 124 of the Ukrainian Criminal Proceedings Code, the cost of forensic ballistic tests - over 12,000 hryvni - will be borne by the two men in equal proportions.

At the same time, the court did not find any mitigating circumstances: "In choosing a punishment for Yerofeyev and Alexandrov, the court took into account the personalities of the accused, the nature of the public danger and the degree of seriousness of their wrongdoing, which is classified as a very serious crime under the criminal laws, and took account of the target of their crimes, as with peace being an element of international law and order. The court did not find any circumstances mitigating the guilt of Alexandrov and Yerofeyev."

The verdict is due to take effect in ten days from announcement, unless it is appealed. The court ruled that the convicted Russians will remain in custody until the verdict takes effect.

Yerofeyev and Alexandrov were captured by the Ukrainian military near the town of Shchastya in the Lugansk region, allegedly while attempting to seize a strategic bridge, on May 16, 2015.

On May 19, Ukrainian investigators told the Russian men, whom they believe to be members of the Russian Armed Forces, of suspecting them of terrorist crimes (Article 258-3 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code). On May 22, the Shevchenko district court in Kyiv ordered that the pair be remanded in custody.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the two men were not active Russian military servicemen at the time of their arrest.

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