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Ukrainian woman forced into anti-war protest in Moscow receives 12-year sentence

Despite evidence suggesting she was forced into organizing the protest, the court found her guilty of spreading “fake news” about the Russian army and participating in a “terrorist organization.”
Kristina Liubashenko. Photo by: Alexandra Astakhova / Mediazona
Kristina Liubashenko. Photo by: Alexandra Astakhova / Mediazona
Ukrainian woman forced into anti-war protest in Moscow receives 12-year sentence

A Moscow court has sentenced Ukrainian citizen Kristina Liubashenko to 12 years in prison after finding her guilty of spreading “fake news” about the war and “participating in a terrorist organization,” as per Mediazona.

According to the investigation, Liubashenko placed speakers on the windowsill of a rented apartment near Moscow and played an anti-war speech and the Ukrainian anthem loudly, which was qualified as spreading fake news on the Russian military.

She was detained after releasing balloons with a white-blue-white flag at Moscow’s Vorobyovy Gory. Mediazona informed that the official investigation considered the balloon release as evidence of participation in a terrorist organization as the white-blue-white flag is also a symbol of the “Freedom of Russia” legion, which fights on the side of Ukraine.

The group was recognized as a terrorist organization by the Russian authorities.

Kristina Liubashenko, 35, a Ukrainian individual, previously lived in Kyiv with her mother, who has cancer, her grandfather with dementia, and her two daughters.

After the beginning of the war, her family moved to Switzerland and received shelter there. However, they were financially limited. One day, Kristina met a neighbor, Vitaliy Yurchenko, who disguised himself as a refugee from Ukraine, too.

Initially, he lent her money, but later asked her to go to Moscow for financial help and conduct a peaceful protest by releasing blue and yellow balloons. Soon, other demands followed, and when Lyubashenko refused to participate in the actions, she was threatened.

According to her lawyer, there is correspondence in the case files showing Yurchenko blackmailing Lyubashenko about her children’s fate.

The lawyer also pointed out that Russian law enforcement officers who detained Lyubashenko had prior information about the balloon release, even though she hadn’t informed anyone about it.

The lawyer requested the court dismiss the case because it did not contain criminal elements. The prosecutor, on the other hand, insisted on a 15-year sentence.

Ultimately, the court sentenced a woman to 12 years in jail. Kristina Liubashenko delivered her final statement in Ukrainian, denying all the accusations.

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