"The trial of a German citizen suspected of participating in combat operations in the east of Ukraine on the side of militants of the so-called 'DPR,' began in Dortmund, Germany, on Wednesday, July 3," the report reads.
The man whose name is not disclosed stayed in the occupied Donbas between 2014 and 2016. However, he denies participation in hostilities on the side of Russian-backed forces.
The 43-year-old defendant from the city of Loehne in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia claims that he was born in the Soviet Union and that his father was a Ukrainian, and therefore he called his joining the ranks of "DPR" militants' in Donbas a "civic duty."
However, he later said he was disappointed with militants. "I have never been to the front. […] I supported people who enriched themselves on the war," he said in court.
According to him, he was taught to use weapons. However, at first, he was engaged in repairing destroyed gas and water pipelines, since he had already worked as a welder and subsequently joined a security unit, but has "never been to the front."
The man was arrested upon arrival at Hannover airport. He is accused of preparing a large-scale violent act, which poses a threat to the state, as well as a violation of the law on the control of military weapons. According to the agency, the defendant may count on a suspended sentence.
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