Two men sentenced to nine years in Russian prison for ties to anti-Kremlin militia

Alexey Kulikov in court. Photo: ASTRA

Alexey Kulikov in court. Photo: ASTRA

A Russian military court sentenced two men to nine years in prison on Wednesday on charges of attempted treason for their ties to the Freedom of Russia Legion, a Russian paramilitary group based in Ukraine, according to state-owned news agency TASS.

Both men were linked to the pro-Ukraine military group in court but sentenced in cases unrelated to each other, independent news outlet Mediazona reported.

Vsevolod Kulikov, a 19-year old student from the central Russian city of Lipetsk, was convicted of attempted treason, “planning to commit a terrorist attack”, and “encouraging another to commit terrorism”. Investigators say that Kulikov sent an application to the Freedom of Russia Legion in 2022 when he was 17 years old and chose to commit arson on a military airfield as part of a “test task”.

In a letter shared by the Letters of Freedom project in January, Kulikov said he was tortured while in pre-trial detention and “forced to admit to crimes he did not commit”.

The court also convicted Vyacheslav Kuznetsov, 36, from the Russian Volga region republic of Tatarstan, for attempted treason in the form of “defecting to the enemy’s side”, as well as for “planned participation in a terrorist organisation”.

According to investigators, Kuznetsov was arrested in June on his third attempt to enter Ukraine via the Belgorod region. Kuznetsov admitted that he had been in contact with the Freedom of Russia Legion and intended to join the military group, the court press service told TASS.

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