Popular YouTuber and opponent of the Ukrainian regime, Anatoly Shariy, has been arrested and detained by Spanish police as part of a purge of opposition that extends beyond Ukrainian borders, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) announced on Thursday.
Now that Zelensky has finished banning opposition parties and arresting opposition leaders in Ukraine, it appears he has moved on to arresting popular YouTubers who dare to criticize his regime.
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Shariy was arrested on Wednesday in a joint operation by Spanish and Ukrainian law enforcement officials, as well as international “partners”, the SBU announced in a statement.
The agency, Kiev’s successor to the Soviet KGB, said that the opposition figure, known as a “shit-stirrer” on social media, is wanted on charges of treason by Kiev. According to the agency, Shariy has been infringing Ukraine’s national security through his activities on social media, while allegedly acting on behalf of “foreign” forces.
Shariy’s arrest “is more proof that every traitor of Ukraine will sooner or later receive his well-deserved punishment. It is inevitable,” the SBU claimed. The case against Shariy, who has almost 3 million YouTube subscribers, was launched in February 2021.
The Ukrainian announcement was confirmed by Spanish authorities, who told RIA-Novosti that the popular YouTuber was arrested and detained in the coastal city of Tarragona on May 4 on an international arrest warrant issued by the Kiev regime.
Shariy has a history of criticizing the ruling party in Ukraine, regardless of which political party is in control.
Shariy had been granted political asylum in the EU by Lithuania back in 2012. Back then, he said that he was fleeing persecution by the Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovich, whom the Western media branded pro-Russian.
Yanukovich was deposed after the Maidan coup in 2014, but the blogger remained a harsh critic of authorities in Ukraine, be it President Petro Poroshenko or his successor Volodymyr Zelensky.
He condemned Russia’s military operation in Ukraine after it was launched in late February but kept pointing out what he saw as flaws in Kiev’s conduct during the ongoing conflict.
The blogger’s political asylum was cancelled by Lithuania in January this year.
Shariy was absent from social media on Wednesday, but on Thursday he took to Telegram to share a photo of his wife feeding parrots in Barcelona, accompanying it with a comment reading: “This really is a comedy.”
According to media reports, the blogger was released from Spanish custody and placed under travel restrictions. He must remain in Barcelona where he has a home pending a decision on his extradition to Ukraine.
President Zelensky’s representative at the Constitutional Court has already expressed confidence that Shariy will “face a Ukrainian court and will be held liable in line with Ukrainian laws.”
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