2023-01-29

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Moscow jails Ukraine war critic as fighting rages – Vatican News – English

By Stefan J. Bos 
The Russian court said Ilya Yashin had been found guilty of spreading “false information” on a YouTube video released in April. 
In it, he discussed evidence uncovered by western journalists of Russian war crimes in Bucha, near Kyiv.
The Kremlin critic and former municipal deputy cast doubt on the official Moscow version that such reports had been fabricated as a “provocation” against Russia.
Sentencing him, the judge, Oksana Goryunova of the Meshchansky district court, said Yashin had committed a crime by disseminating “knowingly false information about Russia’s armed forces.”
The judge said Yashin had to serve eight and a half years in prison. 
The sentencing came as fighting intensified along the frontline in the Donetsk region. The region’s governor accused Russia of shelling the “entire front line in Donetsk’. The fiercest fighting was reported near the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
Pope Francis broke down in tears on Thursday when mentioning the suffering of Ukrainians in Europe’s most significant conflict since World War Two.
But it seems that many more people will die in this escalating conflict. 
Separately, ten months after she left the US to play basketball in Russia, basketball star Brittney Griner landed in her home state of Texas after being released from a Russian prison. 
But she was exchanged by the U.S. against Russia’s notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout who had been behind bars for some 12 years. 
He sold arms to warlords and rogue governments, becoming one of the world’s most wanted men. 
His exploits inspired the 2005 Hollywood film Lord of War. 
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