July 13, 2024

Russian woman receives record 27-year sentence for killing anti-Ukraine blogger

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A Russian court has sentenced Darya Trepova to an unprecedented 27 years in prison for her involvement in the killing of hardline military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky. Tatarsky met his demise when a miniature statue, given to him by Trepova as a gift, exploded during a speech at a Saint Petersburg cafe in April 2023. Prosecutors assert that this brazen act was orchestrated by Kyiv, making it a case of ordered assassination.

The Saint Petersburg court, in its ruling, found Trepova guilty of terrorism and other charges related to the attack. The 26-year-old defendant, donned in a white turtleneck jumper, maintained her innocence, claiming that she was deceived by contacts in Ukraine. Trepova asserted that she believed she was delivering a secret listening device, not a bomb, to Tatarsky, whose real name is Maxim Fomin. She was apprehended within 24 hours of the explosion.

Vladlen Tatarsky, a former bank robber turned influential military blogger, advocated for a more aggressive military campaign against Ukraine. Born in eastern Ukraine, he gained notoriety for his critiques of Moscow’s military tactics. Trepova, on the other hand, opposed Russia’s offensive against Kyiv. The blast resulted in Tatarsky’s death and left more than 30 others injured, causing extensive damage to the Saint Petersburg cafe.

In a surprising move, Russian President Vladimir Putin posthumously honored Tatarsky with the Order of Courage, acknowledging his bravery during professional duty. Trepova’s 27-year sentence, the longest for a woman since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has drawn attention for its severity. Despite her denial of intentional harm, prosecutors argue that Trepova was aware that the device she handed to Tatarsky was rigged with explosives.

Trepova’s defense contends that she was manipulated by handlers in Ukraine, who misled her about the package’s contents. She expressed regret in court, seeking forgiveness from victims and their families. Kyiv denies involvement, attributing the killing to domestic “infighting.” Trepova’s sentence, surpassing even those for serial killers under Russia’s criminal code, underscores the gravity of the charges brought against her, including the designation of a “terrorist act.” The case further fuels tensions between Russia and Ukraine, with both sides trading accusations of orchestrated attacks and assassinations.

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