Russia aims to put two Ukrainian teens in jail over rail sabotage plot, watchdog says

KYIV — Russia is considering jailing two Ukrainian teenagers for planning to sabotage a railway that helps supply the Russian military.

The Ukrainian boys from Berdyansk in the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia region now face up to 20 years in prison. 0-to-20-years-in-prison/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Media Initiative for Human Rights reported.

Russia on Wednesday charged 16-year-olds Tiran Ohanisian and Mykita Khanhanov. Russian investigators also suspect that the teenagers conspired with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Russian State Investigative Committee did not respond to a request for comment.

“We never involve minors in our work,” the National Resistance Center of Ukraine, an organization that coordinates Ukrainian partisans in the occupied territories, told Politico.

The Media Initiative for Human Rights said in a statement that the indictment was preceded by several months of intimidation, detention and torture of the children and their families.

According to the watchdog, the teen has been persecuted and interrogated by Russian authorities since September 2022.

“Thiran was abducted from his home, where he lives with his grandmother. For five days the family knew nothing about the child’s whereabouts. At the same time, Tehran was brutally interrogated by ‘investigative officers’ and subjected to beatings and electric shocks,” the human rights watchdog said. Khanhanov managed to avoid arrest, but he was also obliged to report daily to investigators. .

“We did not make this situation public for a long time, hoping that by scaring the children and their families everything would end. But it was naive to hope even for such a relative humanity of the Russian authorities. They plan to hold a show trial of Ukrainian teenagers,” said Olga Reshetilova, co-founder of the Media Initiative for Human Rights. said in a Facebook post.

Andrey Yakovlev, a lawyer for the Media Initiative for Human Rights, told Politico that the boys have not yet been arrested and insisted they are not guilty.