Russia orders blogger's arrest over Ukraine videos

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 24 2022 07:21 PM

A special team carries out the exhumation of the body of a man reportedly shot in a yard of his house in the Mala Rohan village near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 23, 2022. Vasiliy Zhlobsky, EPA-EFE
A special team carries out the exhumation of the body of a man reportedly shot in a yard of his house in the Mala Rohan village near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 23, 2022. Vasiliy Zhlobsky, EPA-EFE

A Moscow court on Tuesday ordered the detention in absentia of Russian blogger Michael Nacke, accusing him of discrediting the Russian army and its offensive in Ukraine. 

Nacke, a 28-year-old Kremlin critic, hosts a YouTube channel with more than 700,000 subscribers that discusses Russia's military actions in Ukraine.

A citizen of Russia, he is currently in Lithuania, he told AFP, after Moscow's Basmanny court ordered his detention.

Nacke said he was accused of "calling a war a war" and prosecuted over his updates about the course of Russia's military campaign in Ukraine on his YouTube channel.

He risks up to 10 years in prison if he returns to Russia, he said.

He said his arrest was "part of the massive pressure on journalists and analysts who objectively describe the course of the current war." 

"The goal of the Kremlin and Putin personally is to silence everyone," he said.

He said he would continue with his reports.

"There's nothing more important right now than to stop this war," he said.

Nacke creates videos with Ruslan Leviev, the founder of the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), a respected team of bloggers investigating the Russian military.

A court has ordered the arrest of Leviev, who has also left Russia.

Russia has introduced prison terms of up to 15 years for spreading information about its military deemed false by the government.

Many critics of Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine have been arrested and jailed including opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza and artist Aleksandra Skochilenko.

After President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, independent media outlets including Novaya Gazeta have been shut down or suspended operations, and tens of thousands of Russians have left the country in protest over the Kremlin's policies.