An OSCE employee accused by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine of “high treason” for providing “confidential information” to foreign intelligence services went on trial Thursday, local authorities said.

“The Supreme Court of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) has started to examine the criminal case against an LPR resident working for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), detained since April… on suspicion of high treason,” the separatist ministry of state security said on its website.

The statement was accompanied by a 15-second video showing police leading the handcuffed defendant, his head shaved, to a metal cage inside the courthouse.

“The investigation established that Dmitry Shabanov, as a security assistant at the Stakhanavoskaya Forward Patrol Base, passed on confidential information to representatives of foreign intelligence services,” the statement said.

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The ministry said Shavanov was recruited in 2016 by a former officer of Ukraine’s SBU security service and a CIA agent in Ukraine.

Between August 2021 and April 2022, it collected “information on the movements of military equipment as well as units of the Lugansk People’s Army” and “sent them to the CIA agent”.

In April, the LPR’s state security ministry said it had arrested two members of the OSCE mission in the region for “treason”, including one, Mikhail Petrov, who had allegedly confessed to collaborating with foreign services.

British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 15 July 2024
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British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 15 July 2024

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The other turned out to be Shabanov.

The OSCE on Thursday “unequivocally” condemned the charges against the two employees, calling them “totally unacceptable so-called ‘legal proceedings’.

“They are being unjustifiably detained on trumped-up charges,” the group said in a statement calling for their immediate release.

The OSCE mission, which has been deployed in the conflict zone since 2014, left the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in the wake of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine earlier this year.

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