Russia man sentenced to 14 years in prison for collaborating with Ukraine

By Thomson Reuters Apr 15, 2024 | 4:55 AM

(Reuters) – A Russian military court handed down a 14-year sentence to a man it found guilty of cooperating with a foreign state and “justifying terrorism,” Russian media reported on Monday.

Investigators initially accused Vladlen Menshikov, 29, of attempting to sabotage railway lines carrying military equipment near his hometown of Rezh, a small village near the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, the Vecherniye Vedomosti newspaper said.

He was later charged with the two other counts and the attempted sabotage charge was dropped, the newspaper said, citing documents from the Yekaterinburg military court.

It said Menshikov was suspected of receiving instructions from the Freedom of Russia Legion, a Ukrainian-based paramilitary group of Russians who oppose President Vladimir Putin and who have claimed responsibility for cross-border attacks into Russian territory.

Russian officials have linked pro-Ukrainian sabotage groups with numerous attacks on railways aimed at disrupting supplies to the war front in Ukraine since Moscow’s full-scale invasion began more than two years ago.

Ukraine’s domestic spy agency has also been accused of detonating explosives on railway lines inside Russia

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the Soviet-era KGB, detained Menshikov in September 2022 at St Petersburg airport while he was trying to board a flight to Belarus, Vecherniye Vedomosti said.

The newspaper did not say if Menshikov intended to appeal.

(Reporting and writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)