MOSCOW (AP) — A court in Moscow on Tuesday opened the trial of a prominent Russian opposition figure who faces charges stemming from his criticism of the Kremlin’s action in Ukraine.
Ilya Yashin, one of the few Kremlin critics to have remained in the country amid an intensifying crackdown on dissent, has been in custody since his arrest in July.
He was charged with spreading false information about the military — a new offense added to the contry’s criminal law after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine. Yashin faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The charges against Yashin relate to a YouTube livestream video in which he talked about Ukrainians being killed in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha. He rejects the charges as politically motivated.
Speaking Tuesday during his trial at Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court, Yashin argued that his case has been fabricated and “has all the markings of illegal political persecution.” He noted that in the video he cited Russian official sources along with Ukrainian statements to give his audience an objective view.