Hannah Wagner and Andrej Schenk
Moscow — One of the men convicted of murdering Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya has been pardoned following his front-line service in Moscow’s war against Ukraine.
Sergei Khadzhikurbanov’s pardon was confirmed to the Russian news site RBK by the lawyer of the former police officer, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2014.
In a comment to Russian media, journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov described the pardon as a systematic disregard for the rights of the victims by the state.
Politkovskaya, an award-winning journalist critical of the Kremlin, was shot dead outside her flat on October 7, 2006. She was 48 years old.
After a long investigation, several men from the Russian republic of Chechnya in the North Caucasus were convicted in 2014.
The family and ex-colleagues of the journalist suspect a political motive and are still demanding a full investigation into the killing.
Politkovskaya had worked for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which is critical of the Kremlin. She had been reporting on human rights abuses in Chechnya at the time of her killing.
The Russian news outlet Baza posted on its Telegram channel that the ex-policeman convicted of organizing the murder was sent to the Russian-Ukrainian front at the end of 2022. After six months, he is said to have extended his contract with the Defence Ministry.
The Russian army suffered heavy losses in the first months of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine and a recruitment campaign of prison inmates was launched to fill the army’s ranks. Criminals – including many who had carried out serious violent crimes – were promised their freedom in return for military service.
Former detective of the Organized Crime Control Department Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, who was convicted of organizing the murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya, took part in the war with Ukraine— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) November 14, 2023
As Khadzhikurbanov’s lawyer Alexey Mikhalchik said, initially his… pic.twitter.com/DUHPZCdup6
Russia has been waging a war against neighbouring Ukraine for more than 20 months.
On Tuesday morning, the Russian military said it shot down four unmanned Ukrainian drone missiles over Russia overnight. The drones were shot down over the Bryansk, Tambov and Oryol regions, the Ministry of Defence said.
A drone loaded with explosives crashed onto the site of a chemical factory in Bryansk, according to Baza, a Russian independent news outlet, on Telegram. However, no one was injured, it said.
To defend itself, Ukraine has repeatedly shelled Russian territory – both in the border region and in the hinterland. However, the number of casualties and damage are on a vastly smaller scale than what Russia has inflicted on Ukraine.
In Brussels, the European Commission announced on Tuesday the European Union would provide another €110 million ($117.9 million) in humanitarian aid to Ukrainians.
“As Russia’s missiles wreak havoc in Ukraine, the humanitarian community must be ready to assist the most vulnerable people affected during harsh winter months,” said EU Crisis Commissioner Janez Lenarcic.
The new funding is meant to finance cash assistance, food, water, shelter, healthcare, psychosocial support and protection, the commission said. The EU is also to send additional power generators to Ukraine.
The latest pledge raises the EU’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 to €843 million.
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