A Russian court on Thursday sentenced a woman to a record 27 years in prison for blowing up an anti-Ukraine military blogger in what prosecutors say was a brazen killing ordered by Kyiv.

Hardline military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky died when a miniature statue handed to him as a gift by Darya Trepova exploded in a Saint Petersburg cafe where he was giving a speech in April 2023.

A Saint Petersburg court found Trepova guilty of terrorism and other charges over the attack, sentencing her to an unprecedented almost three decades in a prison colony, the court service said in a statement posted on social media.

It is the longest sentence Russia has handed to a woman since the collapse of the Soviet Union, state media and rights groups said. 

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Trepova, 26, denied purposefully killing Tatarsky. 

She said she was set-up by contacts in Ukraine and thought she was handing Tatarsky a secret listening device, not a bomb.

She was arrested less than 24 hours after the blast.

Prosecutors say she knew the device had been rigged with explosives when she gave it to Tatarsky, whose real name is Maxim Fomin.

In court for the verdict on Thursday, Trepova sat in a glass box for defendants, wearing a white turtleneck jumper featuring a pattern of large knitted oranges. 

Tatarsky was an influential military blogger, one of the most prominent among a group of hardline correspondents that have gained a huge following since Russia launched its offensive in Ukraine.

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Born in eastern Ukraine, Tatarsky was a convicted bank robber who escaped from prison to fight with Russian-backed separatists against Ukraine's armed forces, when the conflict first broke out in the east of the country in 2014.

He advocated a much more aggressive military campaign against Ukraine.

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Trepova opposed Russia's offensive against Kyiv.

More than 30 other people were injured in the blast that killed Tatarsy, which tore off the facade of the Saint Petersburg cafe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin posthumously bestowed a top award, the Order of Courage, on Tatarsky, citing his "courage and bravery shown during professional duty".

In court earlier this week, Trepova again denied knowing she had been recruited to carry out an assassination.

She said she "never meant to hurt anyone" and asked other victims and their relatives for forgiveness.

"I still do not plead guilty to the charges but I accept moral responsibility," she said.

She said her handlers in Ukraine lied to her about the contents of the package and had "effectively sent a little girl with a bomb to her death".

Kyiv has denied involvement. 

An aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky said the killing was the result of domestic "infighting" at the time.

Trepova's 27-year sentence stands out even among the dozens of severe punishments Russian courts have handed out for public criticism or crimes conducted in protest against the conflict in Ukraine.

Under Russia's criminal code, which sets out maximum sentencing guidelines, even serial killers can only be jailed for up to 20 years.

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But prosecutors charged Trepova with carrying out a "terrorist act" and added a number of other aggravating charges to enable the record sentence.

Moscow has accused Ukraine of staging several attacks and killings inside Russia, sometimes also blaming Kyiv's Western allies or the domestic opposition.

The most high-profile was a car bomb that killed Russian nationalist Darya Dugina outside Moscow in 2022.

Kyiv denied involvement but has appeared to revel in the spate of assassinations and attacks on high-profile backers of Moscow's offensive.

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