Czech sentenced to three years in prison for fighting with pro-Russian separatists in Donbass

The defendant fought in Ukraine in 2015 and 2016

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: EuroZprávy.cz, Czech News Agency

Czech Pavel Kafka will go to prison for three years for participating in the armed conflict in Ukraine. The High Court in Prague tightened the original verdict after the public prosecutor’s appeal. The defendant was first charged with plotting a terrorist attack and convicted of being involved in an organized crime group.
According to the indictment, Kafka served in the army of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic from 2015 to 2016. In the pre-trial proceedings, he claimed that he wanted to help civilians and the homeless or work in a hospital in eastern Ukraine.
However, according to the prosecutor, Kafka’s motivation was different. He wanted to get involved in the conflict in Ukraine, joining a tank unit where he underwent military training. Subsequently, he worked in the army as a shooter and driver.
The conflict in Ukraine erupted in 2014 after the overthrow of the regime of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych and the subsequent Russian annexation of Crimea. Fighting between insurgents and troops loyal to the government erupted in early April, claiming more than 14,000 lives.
The Czech Republic does not recognize the self-proclaimed republics of pro-Russian separatists and insists that the territories controlled by them, as well as Crimea, are an integral part of Ukraine.
Kafka is not the first Czech sentenced for joining the separatists. In the past, former Czech soldier Erik Eštu was also charged with terrorism for participating in the fighting in Ukraine, but, eventually, the courts sentenced him solely for serving in a foreign armed forces and gave him a suspended sentence.
Title image: In this Monday, March 2, 2015, file photo, a car passes a destroyed tank abandoned on the road at a former Ukrainian army checkpoint that was overrun by Russia-backed separatists during the offensive for Debaltseve, outside the city of Chornukhyne, Ukraine, near Debaltseve. The struggle for the strategic rail hub of Debaltseve, a sleepy town with a pre-war population of 25,000 people, left the town in ruins and became one of the darkest pages in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which killed more than 6,000 people. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)


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