FACT CHECK: Did Ukraine Sentence A Man To 15 Years In Prison For Displaying A Russian Flag?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims that Ukraine sentenced a man to 15 years in prison for hanging a Russian flag outside his window.

Verdict: Misleading

Ukraine sentenced the man to 15 years in prison for espionage and kidnapping. The arrest had nothing to do with the flag.

Fact Check:

The European Union has approved $19 billion in loans to Ukraine despite a veto by Hungary, according to The New York Times. Meanwhile, the Kremlin is rebuffing calls from Kyiv urging them to withdraw troops by Christmas, CNBC reported.

The Twitter post, showing a screenshot article from Russian outlet RIA, claims that a man in Odesa, Ukraine was charged with treason for “hanging a Russian flag outside of his window” and sentenced to 15 years in jail for that reason. The claim also appeared on Twitter.

The claim, though, is highly misleading and lacks context. The RIA article, citing Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation, reported that the man was accused of treason and the man “and his accomplices planned to kidnap a patriotic businessman from Odessa, who was engaged in volunteer activities.”

The man was prosecuted by Ukraine’s Attorney General’s office and found guilty of “treason, collaborative activities and kidnapping of a person” and described as an agent of the FSB, which is Russia’s intelligence service.

“On the order of curators, the convict formed a criminal group. His participants collected information about the locations of military facilities in Odessa. They were also interested in information about activists and other persons who actively spoke out in support of the state sovereignty of Ukraine. They transferred the collected information to enemy intelligence services,” the office stated on Facebook.

There are no credible news reports suggesting that the man had been arrested for simply hanging a flag on a building. (RELATED: Did Ukraine Sink A Russian Submarine?)

Misinformation surrounding the Ukraine-Russia conflict has spread widely on social media since its start in February 2022. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim suggesting the 73rd naval fleet of the Russian navy was destroyed.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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