A man was sentenced to 18 months in prison Thursday by a Siberian court for joining Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector, which is banned in Russia as an extremist organization.
The convicted man “got in touch with members of an armed group on the territory of Ukraine from whom he received instructions about how to join,” the Chernovsky district court in the southern Siberian city of Chita said in a statement on its website.
“He decided to join, and was accepted, to the membership of Right Sector,” the statement read.
Right Sector, a hard-line Ukrainian nationalist organization, rose to prominence following street protests in Kiev last year, and was banned in Russia in January. Russia has brought in absentia terrorist charges against Right Sector leader and former Ukrainian presidential candidate Dmytro Yarosh.
While Right Sector failed to win any significant electoral support in Ukraine, it has been demonized in the Russian media as embracing violence and portrayed as a powerful political player.
The convicted man was identified by local media as Alexander Dodonov, 21, who was arrested in Chita Airport on Feb. 18 while trying to board a flight to Ukraine.
Dodonov, who was reportedly active in vigilante groups trying to catch pedophiles by posing as children on the Internet, appeared in court to hear his sentence wearing a surgical mask and avoiding the cameras, according to local news website zabmedia.ru.