Russia jail ex-Ukrainian militia deputy commander for 16 years

A former deputy commander of a Ukrainian militia unit was sentenced by a Russian court on Tuesday to 16 years in a penal colony for participating in what Moscow considers an illegal armed group.
FILE PHOTO: Denis Muryga, a purported member of the Aidar Battalion fighting as part of the Ukrainian armed forces who reportedly surrendered in the course of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, attends a court hearing in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, October 18, 2022.
FILE PHOTO: Denis Muryga, a purported member of the Aidar Battalion fighting as part of the Ukrainian armed forces who reportedly surrendered in the course of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, attends a court hearing in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, October 18, 2022. REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov/File Photo

(Reuters) - A former deputy commander of a Ukrainian militia unit was sentenced by a Russian court on Tuesday to 16 years in a penal colony for taking part in what Moscow considers an illegal armed group and receiving "terrorist" training, Russian media reported.

Denis Muryga was a senior member of Aidar, one of dozens of volunteer battalions that emerged in Ukraine after fighting broke out in 2014 with Russian-backed groups that declared breakaway "republics" in the east of the country.

The units, some with ultra-nationalist roots, were later absorbed into Ukraine's armed forces.

Muryga was detained in spring 2022 on the Russia-Ukraine border. Russian military news outlet Zvezda published video of him listening with his head bowed to the sentence, which was slightly less than the 18 years prosecutors had demanded.

The Ukrainian military did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case.

(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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