OSCE demands to free its Ukrainian workers sentenced in Russian proxy “republic” for “treason”

OSCE Ukraine luhansk

From left Maksym Petrov, Dmytro Shabanov Photo by necessity from the video footage produced for ’LPR’ and Russian propaganda channels. Credit: KHPG  

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An unrecognized “court” in Russia’s proxy “Luhansk People’s Republic” had “sentenced” two Ukrainians working for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine to 13 years in prison for alleged “treason,” the Kharkiv Human Rights Group reports.

Dmytro Shabanov worked for the OSCE SMM as a security assistant, while Maksym Petrov was an interpreter for the Mission which observed the ceasefire between Russia’s proxy republics in Donbas and the Ukrainian Army before it was shut down following Russia’s full-blown war. Both are residents of the Luhansk Oblast.

The “court” claimed that both Shabanov and Petrov had been “recruited” by Ukraine’s Security Service and by the American CIA. They were specifically accused of passing on information about “the movement of military personnel and equipment” within the pseudo-republic, KHPG reports.

Reports on military movements on both sides of the frontline were published in the OSCE’s daily reports when the Minsk peace agreement was ostensibly regarded as a way towards a peace settlement between Ukraine and the Russian proxy statelet.

Since the start of Russia’s war in 2014, Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine have seen a string of alleged “spy” cases. Defendants do not have access to a lawyer or fair trial.

The OSCE condemned the sentence and demanded the release of its employees.

“Our colleagues remain OSCE staff members and had been performing official duties as mandated by all 57 participating States,” OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid said. “I call for their immediate and unconditional release, along with our other colleague who is also being detained.”

“Our Mission members have been held unjustifiably for more than five months in unknown conditions for nothing but pure political theatre. It is inhumane and repugnant,” said Chairman Rau.

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