Russian TV journalist and Kremlin critic Alexander Nevzorov has been granted Ukrainian citizenship for “outstanding service to the country,” a Ukrainian official said Friday.
Russian authorities sentenced Nevzorov to arrest in absentia in May after he criticized Russia's March 9 shelling of a Mariupol maternity hospital on social media. A Moscow court said his posts contained "deliberately false" information about Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky granted citizenship to Nevzorov and his wife Lydia, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
“Thank you Alexander and Lydia for your courage and honesty. For a sincere desire to put an end to the war and an honest assessment of the actual situation,” Gerashchenko wrote.
Nevzorov, who has fled Russia, said that he is grateful to the people of Ukraine who allowed him “to take my place among them.”
Ukrainian law normally requires foreigners to renounce any other nationalities before becoming Ukrainian citizenship.
Moscow has dismissed the Mariupol hospital attack as being staged by Kyiv and also justified its actions by claiming the hospital was being used by extremist Ukrainian forces and that all civilians had long been gone.
Nevzorov, a former MP who has worked with independent media outlets, is one of the most prominent figures to be probed under new legislation that criminalizes “fakes” about the Russian army.
Since March, Russian authorities have opened at least 53 criminal cases into the dissemination of “fake news.”