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Britain Charges Ex-Head of Annexed Sevastopol With Breaching Sanctions

Dmitry Ovsyannikov. Anton Novoderezhkin / TASS

A London court has charged the former Moscow-installed head of Sevastopol in annexed Crimea with violating sanctions and money laundering, BBC Russian reported Tuesday.

Dmitry Ovsyannikov was appointed as the governor of Crimea's largest city in 2016, around two years after the Kremlin invaded and subsequently annexed the Ukrainian peninsula. He stepped down from the industry and trade ministry in April 2020 after launching into an expletive-laden tirade at an airport in central Russia. 

Britain sanctioned Ovsyannikov in December 2020 for undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity, a designation that limited his access to money and financial services. 

British media reported that he was arrested at his home in London on Jan. 22, though it was not immediately clear when Ovsyannikov arrived in the United Kingdom. 

Following last month’s arrest, Ovsyannikov was reportedly charged with seven counts of violating sanctions and two counts of money laundering.

According to BBC Russian, he was released from custody on the condition that he surrender both his Russian and British passports to U.K. authorities, abide by a nighttime curfew, wear an electronic ankle bracelet and check in with the police daily.

It was not clear how or when the former Russian official acquired British citizenship despite being placed under sanctions. 

Ovsyannikov's next preliminary court hearing is scheduled for March 5. 

Full court hearings are set to start on March 10, 2025, the state-run TASS news agency reported, citing the prosecution’s argument that preparing the case would take time because of “extremely confusing” sanctions laws.

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