Russian 'Putin mask' activist claims asylum in Ukraine

Russian ‘Putin mask’ activist claims asylum in Ukraine

  • 21 August 2016
  • From the section Europe
Roman Roslovtsev in his Putin maskImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Roman Roslovtsev has been arrested several times for walking in Moscow’s Red Square in a Vladimir Putin mask

Ukrainian authorities say a Russian opposition activist has requested asylum in the country.

Roman Roslovtsev, known for protesting against Russian president Vladimir Putin in a Putin mask, crossed into Ukraine from Belarus.

He told local television he was seeking asylum because of persecution by the Russian security service.

Ukraine’s border agency said that an application for asylum was being reviewed by migration authorities.

The agency published a statement which did not name Mr Roslovtsev, but said a “famous Russian writer and public figure” known for protest activities had applied for asylum.

Mr Roslovtsev, 36, has been detained as least nine times by Russian authorities after walking in Moscow’s Red Square in his Putin mask.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Roslovtsev is led away by police after protesting

Authorities say his actions breach Russian protest laws. Mr Roslovtsev says he is protesting the exact laws which are cited in his arrests, which he describes as “absurd”.

Born and raised in Moscow, he trained as an accountant before choosing to protest against Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

He has also said he is protesting against Article 212.1 – a controversial Russian statute which allows people who breach protest laws to be jailed for up to five years.

The law has been used to detain opposition blogger Alexey Navalny and punk-rock band Pussy Riot.

Moscow remains at odds with Kiev following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its alleged support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

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