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Russia Jails Ukrainian Singer 3 Years for Anti-War Post

Igor Levchenko levchenko_music / instagram

A court outside Moscow has jailed a Ukrainian singer over an Instagram post that “incited hatred” toward the Russian military at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, media reported Wednesday. 

Investigators said Igor Levchenko posted a video on Feb. 24 containing "signs of incitement to hatred and enmity against Russian servicemen with the threat of violence and their murder,” according to the independent Mediazona news website. 

Levchenko pleaded guilty and issued a filmed apology while in detention.

“I made this statement while in a state of severe alcohol intoxication,” he said of the since-deleted video. 

The Moscow region’s Krasnogorsk City Court found Levchenko guilty and sentenced him to three years in a penal colony.

The Moscow Region Court upheld the verdict after it was appealed. 

Both rulings were made in the summer.

Levchenko, who was born in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, had publicly performed an English-language anti-war song before his detention in March.

Russian authorities launched a sweeping crackdown on anti-war sentiment when the country sent troops into Ukraine, with more than 16,000 people detained for anti-war statements and protests and dozens of criminal cases opened.

More than nine months since the start of Russia’s invasion, thousands of people have been charged under draconian laws punishing criticism of the war.

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