September 19, 2022 – By RFE/RL’s Russian Service
Moscow-backed separatist authorities in Ukraine’s eastern region of Luhansk have sentenced an employee of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to 13 years in prison.
The Luhansk information center controlled by the separatists said on September 19 that the de facto Supreme Court of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic sentenced Dmitry Shabanov after finding him guilty of “high treason and working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).”
Shabanov, a local resident of Luhansk, is one of at least six employees of the OSCE mission arrested by the separatists since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in late February, of whom three, including Shabanov, have been held in detention.
In July, Russian state-controlled television channels broadcast what they said was a confession by Shabanov.
It is not possible to obtain confirmation of the report, as inmates in parts of the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk that have been under separatist control since 2014 do not have a right to defense.
After the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, the OSCE evacuated about 500 observers of its mission that monitored the cease-fire in the region. All contracts with local residents were terminated at the time.
The OSCE stated in July that the charges against Shabanov were unfounded and fabricated.
The OSCE has yet to comment on the report about Shabanov’s conviction and sentencing.