A Spanish judge on Thursday ordered the release of pro-Russian Ukrainian blogger Anatoly Shary but banned him from leaving the country pending an extradition hearing. Shary was arrested in Tarragona, where he has resided since 2019, by the Spanish National Police at the request of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU).
Judge Jose Luis Calama of Spain’s Audencia Nacional released Shary at the request of Spain’s prosecution ministry. While explaining his decision, Calama acknowledged that Shary had established roots in Tarragona due to his years-long residence in the city. However, Shary is subject to a number of conditions, including the surrender of his passport and the obligation to appear at his local courthouse in Tarragona twice a month, pending further proceedings.
Ukrainian prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Shary on March 15, a year after the SBU first charged Shary with treason and inciting hatred online in February 2021. The SBU said in its 2021 press release that Shary “discredited Ukraine’s deliberately and manipulative state policy deliberately disseminated, [and] distorted information about government initiatives and events in the East… to aggravate and destabilize the socio-political and socio-economic situation, inciting inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts.
The move comes in the shadow of numerous charges leveled against Russia for war crimes and massacres during its invasion of Ukraine, including a recent indictment of ten Russian soldiers accused of atrocities in Bucha. Ukrainian prosecutors are also conducting another treason investigation into the activities of former President Viktor Yanukovych, who was overthrown in 2014 during Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution.