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Ukrainian in Moscow sentenced to 12 years in prison for balloons and anthem

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Ukrainian citizen Khrystyna Liubashenko was sentenced in Moscow to 12 years in prison for launching balloons into the sky.

The sentence was passed by the 2nd Western District Military Court. The woman was found guilty of «participating in a terrorist organization» and «spreading ‘fakes’ about the war,» Mediaportal reports.

According to the investigation, Liubashenko placed speakers on the window of her rented apartment in the Moscow region town of Dolgoprudny and «played a recording with an anti-war speech and the Ukrainian anthem.» She then went to Vorobyovy Gory in Moscow and launched balloons with a white, blue, and white flag, which the Russian authorities consider to be a symbol of the Legion of Freedom of Russia armed group.

For these actions, the court found Liubashenko guilty of participating in a terrorist organization and spreading «fakes» about the war.

After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Liubashenko moved to Switzerland and was granted asylum there with her family—two daughters, her mother with cancer, and her grandfather suffering from dementia. According to the convict’s lawyer, they did not have enough money to live on, and she succumbed to the persuasion of an acquaintance who called himself Vitaliy Yurchenko and posed as a refugee from Ukraine. He offered her to go to Moscow and hold an anti-war rally there for a reward. He even bought Liubashenko a ticket.

According to the defense, the man blackmailed the refugee, threatening to inform the Swiss guardianship authorities about her daughters. She then agreed to the action with speakers and balloons.

On May 8, 2023, Liubashenko was detained by an operative who told the court that he had received information in advance about her plans to hold a protest.

The woman spoke in court in Ukrainian and pleaded not guilty.

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