May 07, 2022 10:38 UTC
  • Pro-Russian blogger arrested in Spain

Spanish police said they have arrested a high-profile pro-Kremlin blogger accused of treason by Ukraine.

Anatoly Shariy was detained on Wednesday by Spanish officers on an international arrest warrant in the north-eastern province of Tarragona, a police source told AFP.

He was questioned Thursday by a judge who ordered his provisional release while a request for his extradition is considered, the court said.

The judge banned him from leaving Spain, retained his passport and ordered he appear before a court twice a month.

Ukrainian authorities, who consider Shariy a “propagandist”, suspect him of “high treason and incitement to hatred”, according to the court.

Ukraine’s SBU security service said its investigators believe he “carried out unlawful activity detrimental to Ukraine’s national security in the information sphere” and “acted on orders of foreign bodies”.

On May 3, the day before his arrest, Shariy tweeted, “The adviser to the Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine decided to threaten me today. He told me that Ukrainian intelligence would find me in Europe and... Thief, corrupt official and idiot. My only crime is that I have exposed you thieves too little.”

Shariy’s YouTube channel has nearly three million followers. He also runs a popular news site called sharij.net.

A vocal critic of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his pro-Western government, Shariy began his career as an investigative journalist whose reports saw him threatened.

Shariy has taken an especially pro-Russian stance since a 2014 uprising in Ukraine which paved the way for a pro-Western government to take power in Kiev.

In 2019, he registered a political party called “The Party of Shariy” which won a few dozen seats in regional assemblies the following year.

Ukraine’s National Security Council suspended the party, along with several others linked to Russia, in March following Russia’s military operation.

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