Belarus has just convicted one of its citizens for fighting on the side of “Donetsk People’s Republic,” the Russian-backed militant group currently controlling parts of eastern Ukraine.
The case marks the first such trial in the Eastern European country, which maintains close ties to both Russia and Ukraine, Belarus’ Nasha Niva newspaper reported.
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Twenty-nine-year-old Aleksey Yershov was sentenced to two years of so-called “restricted freedom” under a law forbidding participation in a militant opposition formation on the territory of a foreign state.
“Restricted freedom” is a form of punishment in which a person may not travel abroad, attend entertainment events or even turn off their phone. Every day, they must return straight home from their place of work or study.
Yershov’s hearing took place in the Belarusian city of Vitebsk behind closed doors.
In Ukraine, the first conviction of a militant from the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” for violating the laws of war took place in June 2017.