Russia orders arrest of Poroshenko’s lawyer in absentia over spreading ‘fake news’ about army

The Gagarin District Court of Moscow ordered the arrest in absentia of Illia Novikov, former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko‘s lawyer, Novikov said on Feb. 14, publishing a copy of the court’s decision on Facebook.

Novikov was accused of spreading “fake news” about the Russian military. Such charges are commonly used to try and silence perceived opponents of the regime and its military aggression against Ukraine.

The Russian state news agency TASS reported that the reason for the case was Novikov’s interview in April 2022, where he spoke about the mass killings of Bucha residents by the Russian military.

In response, the lawyer posted on social media a photo of an artillery shell with an inscription, which he called an “exchange of valentines with Russian authorities.”

In October 2023, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) launched a high treason case against Novikov, claiming he “underwent military training in Ukraine and is participating in combat tasks and propaganda work.”

Novikov, an outspoken Kremlin critic, has been involved in a number of high-profile cases in Russia. He has served as a defense lawyer of Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko and Russian human rights activist Oyub Titiev.

In 2019, he became a defense counsel of Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s fifth president and the current leader of the European Solidarity party.

Novikov, who has denounced Russian aggression in Ukraine, has been residing in Kyiv since 2021. The Russian Interior Ministry put the lawyer on the country’s wanted list in November 2022, and he was stripped of his license to practice law in Russia last June.

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Russia orders arrest of Poroshenko’s lawyer in absentia over spreading ‘fake news’ about army