Russia: 16-year-old convicted, wanted to blow up a federal building in Minecraft

Russia: 16-year-old convicted, wanted to blow up a federal building in Minecraft


In Russia, the trial of a 16-year-old boy guilty of "terrorist activities", one of the most important of which seems to have been the attempt to blow up a Russian government building in a penal colony, ended with a five-year sentence in a penal colony. Minecraft.

The story is paradoxical but represents only part of the elements examined in the judgment of Nikita Uvarov, Denis Mikhailenko and Bogdan Andreyev, three boys from Kansk, Siberia, who were arrested in 2020 for acts considered terrorist and which at the time were all 14 years old. " got away "with 3 and 4 years, but with suspended sentence.

The investigations conducted by the Federal Security Service (FSB) have highlighted a certain anti-government activity by the three boys, who were also found distributing leaflets and promotional materials against the Russian government and against the FSB in particular, in a kind of anarchist movement.

For these reasons, they were accused of having taken part in "a training with the intent of carrying out activities terrorists ", which included the construction of Molotov cocktails and, apparently, the project to blow up a virtual version of the FSB headquarters within Minecraft.

For the rest, the three 14-year-olds always have carried on normal livesiss ime by all accounts, but this does not seem to have affected the inflexible judgment of the military court. "I am not a terrorist and I am not guilty," Uvarov told the court, closing the trial. "I would just like to finish my studies, get an education and get away from here, where maybe I won't irritate any of the special services," he added.

Just in the opposite situation we talked about Minecraft yesterday, regarding the use of the Mojang game in an English language learning program.

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Russia and US evacuate diplomatic staff from Ukraine

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Russia and the US said they would begin evacuating staff from their embassies and consulates in Ukraine on Saturday as western allies prepared a last-ditch effort to convince Moscow to withdraw military forces from around the country’s borders.

The US and UK are also pulling military advisers out of the country, although the British ambassador Melinda Simmons said she would remain in Kyiv.

The US state department has ordered “most US direct hire employees” to leave Kyiv on Saturday “due to the continued threat of Russian military action”, the embassy said.

Passport and visa services have been suspended and the US will offer emergency assistance from the western city of Lviv, according to a State department official. A skeleton team will remain in Kyiv to maintain contact with the Ukrainian government.

US officials reiterated their warning to American citizens to leave Ukraine, after saying on Friday that Russia could launch a full-scale invasion as early as next week.

“US citizens in Ukraine should be aware that the US government will not bea> able to evacuate US citizens in the event of Russian military action anywhere in Ukraine,” the embassy said.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during a call on Saturday “that a diplomatic path to resolving the crisis remained open, but it would require Moscow to de-escalate and engage in good-faith discussions”, according to the State department.

An invasion “would result in a resolute, massive, and united transatlantic response”, Blinken said.

The Russian foreign ministry said Lavrov told Blinken that the west’s “propaganda campaign about Russian aggression” was intended to encourage Ukraine to sabotage the 2015 Minsk agreement “and make ill-fated attempts to solve the Donbas issue by force”.

The Minsk agreement, brokered by Germany and France, was intended to end the proxy separatist war that erupted in Ukraine’s Donbas region after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow had decided to “optimise” its staff at its embassy and three consulates in Ukraine “out of caution over possible provocations from the Kyiv regime or third countries”.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky called for calm.

“Today, the best friend for enemies is panic in our country, and all this information, which only helps panic, does not help us,” he said, speaking from the southern region of Kherson, bordering Russian-occupied Crimea. “As a state, we must rely on ourselves, first of all, on our military, on our citizens. And we must be ready any day.”

Outside the US embassy in Kyiv diplomatic vehicles were being packed and driven away, while food was delivered to staff working there.

Halyna Hayduchuk, a Ukrainian artist who had gone to the embassy to collect work being displayed there, said she was shocked by the US move.

“I hope this is just a muscle-flexing exercise,” she said. But if Russia did invade “we will not surrender. We have nowhere to run and hide,” she said.

Germany on Saturday called on its citizens to leave Ukraine. The foreign ministry said it was temporarily closing down Germany’s general consulate in Donetsk, in the eastern city of Dnipro, with immediate effect. The consulate will be moved to Lviv. Germany’s embassy in Kyiv will remain open for the time being.

Germany’s announcement came a day after the US, UK, Japan, Israel and the Netherlands urged citizens to leave.

France’s Emmanuel Macron spoke to Russian president Vladimir Putin on Saturday in an effort to convince him to draw back Russian forces. US president Joe Biden was due to speak to him later on Saturday.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz plans to visit Kyiv on Monday before meeting Putin in Moscow on Tuesday.

Lloyd Austin, the US defence secretary, spoke with Sergey Shoygu, Russia’s defence minister, about “Russia’s force buildup in Crimea and around Ukraine”, according to the Pentagon.

He also ordered the departure of a group of 160 US troops — members of the Florida national guard — who were serving as military advisers to Ukrainian forces.

“Abundance of caution, safety and security of our personnel [is] his paramount concern,” John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, tweeted.

The Pentagon said the troops would stay in Europe, in a move that would “provide flexibility in assuring allies and deterring aggression”.

British troops who have been training Ukrainian forces will leave this weekend, armed forces minister James Heappey told the BBC.

Zakharova said Russia suspected the US and UK, the first western countries to announce embassy drawdowns, “know about some sort of military actions being prepared in Ukraine that could significantly complicate the security situation”.

Though the White House believes Putin has not made a final decision, Russia has built up more than 130,000 troops along its border with Ukraine and in neighbouring Belarus, as well as weaponry that could be used for a “rapid assault” on Kyiv.

Additional reporting by Guy Chazan in Berlin

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