A Moscow city court has sentenced Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko, a correspondent of the Ukrainian Ukrinform news agency, to 12-year imprisonment in a colony with a strict regime reportedly for trying to learn about a possible attack by the Russian-controlled forces of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" ("DPR") on the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol in Donbas.
The Russian FSB is said to think that Sushchenko, who flew from Paris to Moscow to his cousin in September 2016, used his vacation not only to meet with the relative, but also to gather information. A graduate of military school, Sushchenko, who had the rank of colonel, allegedly worked for the Ukrainian intelligence service under the guise of a journalist, the Russian edition Korrespondent said.
According to Russian investigators, he was interested in structural details of the recently created National Guard of the Russian Federation. In addition, the FSB alleges, Sushchenko was trying to find out confirmation from the former Russian military whether a new offensive by the Russian-backed "DPR" forces against Ukraine's Mariupol was possible or not.
The journalist's friends claim the FSB was aware of his military past, which became a pretext for spying on him.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Moscow's city court on June 4 sentenced Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko, a correspondent of the Ukrainian Ukrinform news agency, to a 12-year term in a high-security colony. The prosecutors insisted on a 14-year term for Sushchenko.
He was charged with "espionage," as the Russian authorities insist he is an "operative" of Ukraine's intelligence service.
The FSB detained Sushchenko at a Moscow airport upon his arrival on September 30, 2016.
The court started considering the Sushchenko case on March 27, 2018.