Ukraine: Hundreds rally outside Kiev EU offices in support of duo detained by LPR

Several hundred people rallied outside the EU Representative Office in Kiev, Sunday, demanding the release of Vladislav Ovcharenko and Artem Akhmerov, who have been convicted by the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic (LPR). Members of FC Zarya, the 'Ultras Chorno-Bili' football fan group, Ovcharenko and Akhmerov, were detained in autumn 2016 on charges of «spying for Ukraine» and «state... Еще treason.» Ovcharenko received a 17-year prison sentence while Akhmerov was sentenced to 13 years. Demonstrators, many of whom are said to belong to Ukrainian patriotic organisations and football fan groups, called upon European authorities to facilitate the release of the two detained men. In November 2016, head of the press service of the LPR Ministry of State Security, Evgenia Lyubenko, was reported as saying that Ovcharenko and Akhmerov had been detained as part of an operation aimed at counteracting the activities of radical groups on LPR territory. She alleged that the two men were leaders of an underground grouping of the Ukrainian 'Azov' battalion.

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