A court in Moscow has issued a guilty verdict in the case of former Ukrainian footballer Vasyl Vasylenko, 53, sentencing him to 12 years in prison on espionage charges.

The trial by a panel of three judges was held behind closed doors, while case files have been declassified, as reported by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta with reference to the court's press service.

Vasylenko case: Background

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Vasylenko was arrested in Moscow in October 2019 on suspicion of committing a crime under Part 1 of Article 226.1 of the Criminal Code (smuggling of hazardous, poisonous, explosive, radioactive substances or ammunition).

In the spring of 2020, the charge was requalified as espionage in favor of Ukraine.

From 1992 to 2001, Vasylenko was part of Ukrainian football teams, including Tavria, Torpedo, and Druzhba.