Holubev is a 50-year-old father of two from Zaporizhzhia who, according to the Russian authorities, had not undergone military service and at the time of the attack was unemployed.
A military court in Russia's southern city of Rostov-on-Don found Holubev guilty of three charges – undergoing training to carry out terrorist activities, engaging in an act of “international terrorism” and preparing for two more such acts.
He was sentenced to 18 years in a prison colony with the first four years of his sentence to be served in a closed prison.
Russia’s state security service (FSB) said he had been recruited and trained by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (HUR) to carry out explosive attacks on buildings being used by Russian authorities in the city that fell under Moscow’s control in the first week of the 2022 full-scale invasion.
Prosecutors said Holubev had placed an explosive device on a windowsill next to the main entrance of the MREO regional traffic police headquarters in Melitopol on Aug. 10 last year.
The device exploded at around 21:45 that evening causing damage to the building but not causing any casualties.
The FSB said that it had foiled two other planned bomb attacks.
It alleged that Holubev had installed a radio-controlled explosive device beside a road along which employees of the military-civil administration frequently traveled.
The FSB said the attack was planned to be carried out on Aug. 31 but gave no details of the relevance of that date or how they had acquired it. They said the bomb had been discovered during a routine check along the road on Aug. 11.
The investigators said the other foiled attack was to be against the Civil Administration Autority (CAA) building but they located the bomb in a hide before it could be used, during a search by FSB officers on Aug 12.
According to Kommersant, Holubev had cooperated after being arrested and had admitted to planting the explosives, but denied he was guilty of international terrorism. The news site quoted him as saying: “I am Ukrainian, I was defending Ukraine.”
Kyiv made no immediate response to the allegations of its involvement or Holubev’s sentencing.
There have been a number of assassinations of Russian-installed officials, intelligence and military officers in occupied areas of Ukraine as previously reported by Kyiv Post.
While Kyiv’s HUR and other security agencies have occasionally admitted to sponsoring some of these attacks it often credits the attacks to “partisan groups” or even internal disputes within Russia's ranks.
According to Kommersant, trials are continuing at the Rostov court of other terrorist cases brought by the FSB.
These involve a Ukrainian military intelligence operator, Pavel Zaporozhets , five unnamed former Ukrainian military personnel and three civilians – Yaroslav Zhuk, Vladimir Krivtsun and Vitaly Rastorguev.
Russian news sites highlight that the articles of Russia’s Criminal Code that are being applied in these cases had been rarely used prior to the start of Russia’s so-called “special military operation.”
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