MOSCOW (AP): The former mayor of Russia’s fourth-largest city was arrested Wednesday on charges of discrediting the country’s military, part of a crackdown on critics of Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.
Police arrested Yevgeny Roizman, 59 who served as the mayor of Yekaterinburg in 2013-2018, following searches at his apartment and office.
Roizman told reporters he was charged under a new law adopted after Russia sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Russian courts fined Roizman earlier this year on similar charges.
Roizman, a sharp critic of the Kremlin, is one of the most visible and charismatic opposition figures in Russia. During his tenure as mayor, he enjoyed broad popularity in Yekaterniburg, a city of 1.5 million in the Ural Mountains.
While police escorted him from his apartment Wednesday, Roizman told reporters that he would likely be brought to Moscow for investigation.
Days after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, Russia’s Kremlin-controlled parliament controlled approved legislation that outlawed disparaging the military and the spread of “false information” about what the Kremlin describes as a “special military operation” in the neighboring country.
Courts have given fines and prison sentences to individuals who have criticized the Russian action in Ukraine.
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