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Russian court sentences Ukrainian POW to 18 years in penal colony

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 4, 2024 6:54 PM 2 min read
A prisoner of war camp guard escorts a Russian POW following a phone call home at a POW detention center in western Ukraine in late September 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (The Kyiv Independent)
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A Russian court has sentenced a Ukrainian POW to 18 years in a maximum security penal colony, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on May 4.

Vladyslav Plahotnyk was accused of "participation in a terrorist organization" and "training for terrorism," by being a member of the Azov battalion which Russia has declared a terrorist organization.

The court in Rostov-on-Don has been the site of several trials of Ukrainian POWs.

Last month Dmytro Yevhan, a Ukrainian servicemember who was captured defending the Azovstal steelworks plant in Mariupol, was sentenced to 20 years.

Serving in the 36th Marine Brigade, Yevhan lost both his hands during the fighting in Mariupol.

He refuted terrorism allegations, asserting he was acting in defense of his country and fulfilling military duties.

Ukrainian prisoners of war have been subjected to rough conditions and systemic torture in Russia, according to POWs who have been been returned through swaps.

Ukraine is open to considering an all-for-all prisoner of war (POW) exchange, and will discuss the idea at the upcoming Peace Summit in Switzerland in June, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on May 3.

"It's desired that we swap all-for-all. All reasonable countries support this route," Zelensky told recruits while speaking at the National Academy of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.

"We are conducting exchanges, but they are slower than we would like."

The last reported prisoner exchange occurred on Feb. 8 with 100 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) returned from Russian captivity.

Before that on Jan. 3, 230 prisoners were exchanged in the largest prisoner exchange since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Families of captive Azov fighters desperately wait as Russia obstructs prisoner swaps
The last time Natalia Kravtsova heard the voice of her son was on May 18, 2022, two days after he was captured by Russian troops in Mariupol. She has not heard from him since. Shortly after news broke on Jan. 24 that a Russian Il-76 military transport plane had crashed
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