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Russian City Official Arrested in Occupied Ukraine on Embezzlement Charges

Oleg Lavrichev.

The head of Nizhny Novgorod’s city government has been arrested in occupied eastern Ukraine on charges of embezzlement, Russian media reported Tuesday.

Oleg Lavrichev, who serves as chairman of Nizhny Novgorod’s City Duma and is a member of the ruling United Russia party, was taken into police custody over the weekend, according to an official citied by local media.

Lavrichev had been overseeing shipments of humanitarian supplies to the partially occupied territories of eastern Ukraine before reportedly deciding to enlist in the Russian military.

On Tuesday, state media released a video of masked law enforcement agents escorting Lavrichev into a courtroom. He is accused of embezzling 22 million rubles ($235,000) in the purchase of medical equipment.

The charges of embezzlement carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years. 

Nizhny Novgorod’s City Duma’s press service told the Kommersant business daily that it was unaware of Lavrichev’s arrest.

On Saturday, Lavrichev wrote on his personal Telegram channel that he was in the occupied city of Donetsk and awaiting the arrival of humanitarian aid from Russia.

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