Russian pensioner gets 10 years for setting fire to military office

By Thomson Reuters Feb 14, 2024 | 8:13 AM

(Reuters) – A Russian military court has sentenced a woman in her 60s to 10 years in a penal colony after finding her guilty of setting fire to an army enlistment office, the court’s press service said on Wednesday.

Investigators found that Zhumagul Kurbanova had used gasoline and engine oil to set fire to the door of the military recruitment centre in St Petersburg in August 2023.

The court said the pensioner received instructions to commit the crime from unknown actors via WhatsApp, who offered her 50,000 roubles (about $550) in return. Kurbanova fled the scene and was later arrested. The damage to the building was assessed at 92,000 roubles ($1,000).

Prosecutors charged Kurbanova, whose age was reported by different media outlets as 66 or 67, with a terrorist offence. She reportedly admitted her guilt and repented in the courtroom.

Russia has registered 220 attacks on military offices and other government facilities, as well as 184 cases of railway sabotage, in the two years since the start of what the Kremlin calls its special military operation in Ukraine, state news agency TASS reported last month.

($1= 91.4425 roubles)

(Reporting by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)