Russian soldier’s jail sentence for justifying Crimean Bridge attack in his own home upheld

A military court of appeal in the Moscow region has upheld the sentence handed to a soldier from the city of Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East who was convicted of “publicly justifying terrorism” for a private conversation he had in his own apartment about the bombing of the Crimean Bridge, according to human rights organisation OVD-Info.

Daniil Bondarenko was sentenced to two years in prison in January after allegedly discussing the Ukrainian army’s attacks on the bridge linking occupied Crimea to the southern Russian region of Krasnodar with other servicemen in his apartment in August.

According to the prosecution, Bondarenko told guests that he did not support the war in Ukraine and justified the Ukrainian domestic intelligence agency’s attacks on the bridge in October 2022 and July 2023. It is unclear how the content of the conversation became known to the authorities. 

Bondarenko admitted guilt in court and his sentence was determined without examining evidence and only with an assessment of the defendant’s personality.

Four people were killed on the Crimean Bridge on the morning of 8 October 2022 after a truck loaded with explosives blew up while driving across it, causing part of the bridge to collapse into the sea. The Ukrainian domestic intelligence agency later confirmed it had been responsible for the operation. A second attack on the bridge by sea drones killed two people in July.

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