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Russia jails dual US citizen for insulting army ribbon

Russian ambassador in Poland ignores summons over missile incursion
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A US-Russian man accused of mocking a patriotic ribbon associated with the Russian army has been jailed for three and a half years, the Saint Petersburg court service said on Wednesday.

Moscow made public criticism of its offensive in Ukraine illegal shortly after it ordered troops across the border in February 2022, and thousands have since been detained for simple acts of protest.

Prosecutors say Yuri Malev, who had been in pre-trial detention since December, made two social media posts insulting the Saint George’s ribbon in June 2022 and May 2023.

The first post was an image of the orange-and-black ribbon alongside an offensive caption, while the second was an image of a corpse with “instructions on how to wear the Saint George’s ribbon correctly”, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors charged him with “rehabilitating Nazism” due to the ribbon’s links with the Soviet Union’s victory in the Second World War, and accused him of “expressing obvious disrespect for society and the days of military glory”.

“Malev pleaded guilty,” the Saint Petersburg court service said on Telegram.

Saint Petersburg City Court sentenced him to “three and a half years’ imprisonment in a penal colony” and also banned him from using social media for one and a half years, it added.

Several US citizens are currently in Russian jails, including journalists Evan Gershkovich and Alsu Kurmasheva, and former US Marine Paul Whelan.

Officials on both sides have suggested negotiations on prisoner swaps are underway, but there have not been any major exchanges since American basketball player Brittney Griner was traded with arms dealer Viktor Bout in December 2022.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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