Russia sentences 72 year-old Donbas native to 12 years in prison for espionage

72 year-old Volodymyr Morgunov, a native of the town of Milove in eastern Ukraine who more recently resided in Chertkovo, a Russian town on the border with Ukraine, has been found guilty of high treason.

Morgunov pleaded guilty, Caucasian Knot news outlet reports, citing the regional office of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in the Rostov province.

The pensioner was arrested in November 2018. Multiple SIM cards and two passports – one Russian one Ukrainian – were found in his house and confiscated by police.

Morgunov was accused of cooperating with foreign intelligence, informing them of the situation in the Chertkovsky District. He is believed to have met with Ukrainian intelligence agents during visits to Ukraine, meetings he coordinated over the phone.

“The foreign intelligence was interested in the situation in various areas of the economy and socio-political life in the bordering Chertkovsky District, as well as in information regarding the location of military equipment in border areas, and the forces and means used to guard Russia’s state border,” the regional FSB office said in a statement.

The department also noted that Morgunov had admitted to the charges and chosen a special court ruling procedure.

The Rostov Regional Court found Morgunov guilty of high treason (Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code). He was sentenced to 12 years of high-security prison followed by a single year of supervised release.

The Russian media has reported a statement by Morgunov’s attorney that his client will not be appealing the verdict.

The local news outlet Don 24 wrote previously that, according to documents found when his house was searched, Morgunov was a Cossack colonel, an advisor to an ataman of the Revived Cossacks of Rus’, and also a chief of staff within the same organization.

  Russia, Donbas, Ukraine