St. Petersburg teenager sentenced to eight years in prison for setting railway fire

A St. Petersburg court sentenced a local man to eight years in custody for sabotage, the city’s court press service said on Wednesday.

The court heard how Vyacheslav Zaytsev had set fire to a railway equipment case in March with the intention of “undermining Russia’s economic security and defence capability”. Zaytsev pleaded guilty to the charge.

Zaytsev, 19, will serve the first two years of his sentence in a regular prison and the remaining six in a high-security facility. His lawyers asked the court to take into account that the accused had contacted the military recruitment office to say that he wanted to fight in Ukraine. They also said Zaytsev had been motivated solely by the desire to earn money and stressed that his actions had no serious consequences.

According to an investigation into the incident, in March 2023, Zaytsev announced that he was looking for a job on Telegram, after which he was contacted by somebody who offered to pay him 10,000 rubles (€103) to set fire to the railway equipment case. Zaytsev committed the arson on 17 March and filmed it on video, after which was was paid his reward within two days.

Law enforcement estimated the damage caused by the fire to be 1.5 million rubles (€15,425).

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