Russia fines rock star for criticizing Ukraine conflict

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A Russian court on Tuesday found Soviet rock legend and Kremlin critic Yuri Shevchuk guilty of “discrediting” the Russian army after he condemned Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.

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He received the maximum fine of 50,000 rubles ($815), the press service of a court in the central city of Ufa said on the Telegram messenger.

The court said Shevchuk made a speech during his concert that contained “public calls to prevent the use of Russia’s Armed Forces,” the statement added.

Shevchuk did not attend the hearing in person due to a coronavirus-related quarantine but conveyed a written statement with his lawyer.

“I, Yuri Shevchuk have always been against war, in any country, at any time... I think all problems and difficulties of a political nature between countries and people should be resolved through diplomacy,” the statement said.

The frontman of the 1980s Soviet rock band DDT, Shevchuk has over the years publicly criticized President Vladimir Putin and opposed the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

On May 18, the 65-year-old performer told his audience in Ufa that it “is not the president's ass that needs to be licked and kissed,” according to videos posted online.

“Now people are being killed in Ukraine. Why? Our guys are dying in Ukraine. Why?” he told a cheering crowd.

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