Spanish police arrest pro-Russian Ukrainian blogger
Spanish police said Thursday they have arrested a high-profile pro-Russia Ukranian blogger who is wanted by Kyiv for alleged “high treason”.
Officers detained Anatoly Shariy on Wednesday 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”.
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.
In July 2011 unknown assailants opened fire in Kyiv on a car he was sitting in.
He fled to Lithuania in 2012 where he was granted political asylum on the grounds that he was being persecuted for his journalistic work. Lithuania revoked his asylum last year.
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 Kyiv.
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 banned the party along with several others considered pro-Russian, in March in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.