Human rights activist Maksym Butkevych sentenced to 13 years by Russian separatists

Human rights advocate Maksym Butkevych has been jailed by the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Butkevych, who enlisted in the national army was captured by a militia in Luhansk in June 2022, a region of Donbas in the east of the country.

The city and its Oblast (a Ukrainian word for county or state) have been controlled by the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic since the inception of the Donbas war.

The activist turned soldier is accused of being a “Nazi militant”, and that his work as a human rights advocate is a cover for illicit activities. A claim he, his colleagues and family deny.

This is not the first time separatist groups have carried out an illegal jailing. Former Vice reporter Simon Ostrovsky was illegally kidnapped by armed separatists in 2014. Accused of spying for ‘enemy groups’ he was beaten and tortured for several days.

Mapped: The current situation in the East of Ukraine.

Butkevych is the founder of Hromadske radio, The No Borders Project and is a local contact for the United Nations agency ‘UNHCR’.

Nazism has been a core piece of propaganda used by the Russian state, though there is no evidence to suggest Ukraine is guilty of any fascist leaning.

Russia recently launched hypersonic next generation missiles called ‘Kinzhal’ (Russian for ‘dagger’) into Ukraine. They are released from the air and are capable of causing immense damage.

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