Ukraine’s SBU arrested a controversial pro-Russian blogger, Ruslan Kotsaba, for “obstructing the lawful activities of the Armed Forces and other military formations”

The six-page indictment begins with reference to the video appeal to President Petro Poroshenko entitled “I reject mobilization” which Kotsaba posted on YouTube on Jan 17. On this video he publicly called on “all adequate people” to refuse mobilization, asserting that it had been declared in breach of Ukraine’s legislation. The prosecution alleges that Kotsaba provides false information to back his claim to likely conscripts that mobilization is unlawful and that there is unwarranted fratricide in civil war in Donbas. The indictment asserts that the said video “received a significant number of hits in the Internet and was circulated among compatriots”.

In fact, the video had been watched by an extremely modest number of people until the SBU made its author so famous and led to his views being heard by close on 400 thousand viewers. There is certainly no evidence that it had any impact on the level of mobilization, yet the prosecution is claiming that it falls under Article 14 as being ‘subversive activities obstructing the armed forces”.

An additional issue here is that there are other Ukrainians who are in no doubt that Russia is the real aggressor but who believe the mobilization waves to be legally questionable given that Ukraine has not formally declared a state of war.

The indictment goes on to list occasions where Kotsaba gave interviews to Ukrainian and Russian television channels in which he spoke about his video and expressed the view that the events in eastern Ukraine constitute civil war.