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Russia Jails Man for 3 Years Over Ukraine Remarks

Vladimir Rumyantsev.

A Russian court on Thursday jailed a man for three years over spreading "false information" about Russia's offensive in Ukraine on a pirate radio station, as Moscow steps up its crackdown on critics.

The court found Vladimir Rumyantsev, a 61-year-old worker in Vologda city in northwest Russia, guilty of broadcasting "false information" that was "full of hatred" against the Russian army, the regional court said on Telegram. 

New legislation came into force after the start of Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine to penalize what the authorities deem to be damaging or false information about the Russian military.

"Between April 7 and 13, the defendant broadcast from his apartment in Vologda, via a specific radio frequency, false information about negative actions by members of the Armed Forces," the court said.

It added that the "false" accusations included "violent robberies," "destruction of local areas" or "rape of young women" in Ukraine.

The court said Rumyantsev also shared on Russia's largest social network VKontakte "six videos with false information saying members of the Armed Forces robbed, killed and committed violence against civilians."

Rumyantsev denied the claims and had been in pre-trial detention since July. The prosecutor had sought a jail term of six years. 

Thousands of people have been briefly imprisoned or fined after denouncing Russia's offensive in Ukraine that began in February.

The independent monitoring group OVD-Info has said more than 380 others are on trial for similar charges that carry heavy penalties.

Most opposition figures have fled Russia or are in prison.

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