Russia detains Russian national on suspicion of pro-Ukraine terrorism News
Freedom of Russia Legion, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Russia detains Russian national on suspicion of pro-Ukraine terrorism

The Kaluga Regional Court said Friday that it kept a Russian national suspected of being a member of the “Freedom of Russia” Legion, a paramilitary group of former Russian soldiers who now fight on behalf of Ukraine, in custody for two months on suspicion of terrorism.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested the unnamed individual. The FSB is claiming the individual was planning terrorist attacks in Bryansk, Russia. The FSB went on to say the individual was planning terrorist attacks on the eve of the presidential elections. President Vladimir Putin is projected to win a fifth term amid controversies surrounding the disqualification of opposition candidates like Boris Nadezhdin and the death of democracy activist Alexei Navalny. According to the FSB, they recovered several caches of explosives placed by the individual near the entrances to energy companies and government buildings. They reported that the individual had admitted to assembling and operating drones on behalf of Ukraine.

The Kaluga District Court initiated criminal charges under Part 1 of Article 30 (“Preparations for a Crime”), Part 1 of Article 205 (“Acts of Terrorism”) and Part 1 of Article 222.1 (“Illegal Acquisition, Transfer, Sale, Storage, Transportation, or Bearing of Firearms, Its Basic Parts, Ammunition, Explosives, and Explosive Devices”) of the Russian Criminal Code. The punishment for these crimes is up to 20 years in prison.

The arrest of the alleged member of the “Freedom of Russia” Legion comes amidst multiple crackdowns against the anti-war movement in Russia. Last month, Russian law enforcement detained at least two dozen people at a protest in Moscow, as wives and relatives of Russian service members fighting in Ukraine advocated for their return. Reportedly, those arrested were primarily journalists covering the protest and human rights activists rather than participants in the protest.