Ukraine invasion: Russia puts opposition figure Ilya Yashin on trial

Opposition politician Ilya Yashin stands in the glass defendants cage prior to a hearing at the Meshchansky District Court in Moscow as he faces 10 years in prison on charges of spreading fake information [Maxim Shipenkov-EPA]

The trial of Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin, who faces up to 10 years in prison for criticising the war in Ukraine, has begun in a court in Moscow.

Most of Russia’s opposition members are either in jail or exile when the trial of Yashin, a 39-year-old Moscow municipal councilman, begins.

Despite President Putin’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, Yashin remained in the country.

He is friends with Boris Nemtsov, the opposition politician who was killed in 2015 near the Kremlin and was an associate of jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

According to AFP, Yashin was photographed grinning, giving the thumbs up, and stretching while standing in a defendant’s cage on Wednesday in Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court.

He was wearing a dark green hoodie and jeans and was seen beaming at his parents in the front row.

While taking a stroll through a park in Moscow in June, Yashin was detained by authorities.

The legislation passed after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could land him in prison for up to ten years on allegations of spreading “fake” information about the Russian army.

The charges against Yashin stem from a live stream he gave in April on YouTube, in which he referred to the “murder of civilians” in the Bucha neighbourhood of Kyiv, where the Russian army has been accused of committing war crimes. A slaughter, he characterised it as.

Yashin has been very vocal about the Russian actions in Ukraine while in captivity.

This month, he made a speech in court in which he called Russia’s judges “political servants of the Kremlin.”

Alexey Gorinov, another Moscow councilman, was convicted in July of seven years in prison for speaking out against the offensive in Ukraine.

While “every day children are dying” in Ukraine, the 61-year-old had questioned preparations for a local painting competition for kids.

Putin’s prominent political opponents have mostly fled the country or been arrested.

Navalny, 46, is serving a nine-year prison term on politically motivated embezzlement allegations.

Since Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has increased its efforts to suppress dissent.