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Ukraine’s MFA Comments on Detention of Russian Citizen Involved in Occupation of Crimea in Czech Republic

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine confirmed the detention at the Prague airport of Alexander Franchetti, a citizen of the Russian Federation who assisted the Russian Federation in the occupation of Crimea.

“The detention was the result of coordinated actions of Ukrainian and Czech law enforcement agencies to bring Alexander Franchetti to justice for a number of crimes against our state, including participation in the Russian occupation of Crimea,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko.

He also said that the Ukrainian side was currently working to complete the necessary procedures for the detainee to be extradited to Ukraine and brought up before the court.

According to the Myrotvorets website, Alexander Franchetti, also known as Alexander Kramarenko, arrived in Sevastopol in the spring of 2014. There he became a member of the formation “Defence of Sevastopol.” Soon the man organised a “North Wind” unit that harassed the pro-Ukrainian population of the city. Franchetti himself said that this group had interacted with the Russian Navy command. He took part in the capture of the Crimean peninsula and was awarded the medal “For the return of Crimea.”

Franchetti currently lives in Prague, where he works as a fitness trainer. In 2019, Czech Radio reported that the man came into the field of view of the Czech counterintelligence.

At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Czech Republic had not informed the Russian Federation about the detention of a Russian national at the request of Ukraine for contributing to the occupation of Crimea.

The minister ordered a number of inquiries to be sent to the Czech authorities with a request to clarify the circumstances of the detention.

As a reminder, on 7-8 September, the Czech Republic courts sentenced two Czechs for fighting in Donbas against the Ukrainian army.

The Municipal Court in Prague sentenced Jiří Urbánek, codenamed “Hippo,” who joined and fought with Russian-backed militants, to 20 years in prison for membership in a terrorist group and carrying out a terrorist attack.

According to the prosecution, Urbánek arrived in Ukraine in 2015 and took part in operations of the militants at least until January 2018. In particular, he participated in armed hostilities against the Ukrainian army near Marinka, Krasnohorivka, and Spartak.

The District Court of the Czech city of Plzen also sentenced 27-year-old Lukáš Nováček to 20 years in a maximum-security prison for participating in hostilities along with Russian-backed militants in eastern Ukraine in 2015. Since July 2015, the man has been actively involved in the activities of militants of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic.”

Nováček stated in court that he had not taken part in hostilities and only had worked in the kitchen. At the same time, the court was provided with strong evidence, including photos and videos taken on the man’s mobile phone, where he poses in the militant’s uniform holding weapons.

Bohdan Marusyak

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