Ukrainian Panov's arrest in Crimea extended for another two months, Kyiv expresses protest

The so-called "Supreme Court" of the occupied Crimea on February 7 extended for another two months, until April 9, 2018, the arrest of Ukrainian citizen Yevhen Panov, who is accused by Russian special services of preparing acts of sabotage, the Crimean Human Rights group reported on its website.

The trial was held in closed session. According to human rights activists, the ruling to keep Panov in detention facility was made by Judge Olena Mykhalkova.

For its part, the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Ukraine expressed a protest over the extension of Panov's arrest. "Once again, we express our strong protest: a contrived and fabricated case by the invader, once again the Russian Federation grossly violates human rights," the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, Mariana Betsa, wrote on her Twitter account on Wednesday.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) announced that several terrorist acts, which had been allegedly plotted by Ukrainian intelligence, were thwarted on August 10. In particular, it was reported that overnight into August 8 Russian special services averted several attempts by sabotage terrorist groups to break into Crimea from Ukrainian territory, during which a Russian serviceman and an FSB operative were killed.

The FSB claimed it had detained one of their plotters, Yevhen Panov, a resident of Zaporizhia region and employee of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate. They said he gave confessing testimony, which was aired on federal television channels. At the same time, the relatives of the Ukrainian said that he had confessed as a result of torture.

According to the Russian law enforcement agencies, Ukrainian citizen Andriy Zakhtei provided for the operation of the sabotage group. During the check of his car, three kilograms of explosives, grenades, sim cards and cellular phones were discovered in the rear wheel, the special services said. Zakhtei's relatives said that his had been an ordinary taxman, not a saboteur.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry, the Main Intelligence Directorate and the National Security and Defense Council refuted the reports about Ukrainian saboteurs and the connections of the detainees to the Ukrainian special services. Panov's brother Ihor Kotelianets thinks Yevhen was kidnapped from Zaporizhia region and delivered to Crimea.