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Russian whose daughter drew anti-war picture flees after being sentenced to jail

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A Russian man sentenced to two years in a penal colony on charges of discrediting the armed forces has fled from house arrest, a court has said.

Police investigated Alexei Moskalyov after his daughter drew an anti-war picture at school and he was convicted over social media posts criticising the war.

Moskalyov, 54, fled house arrest before his verdict was delivered in his Russian hometown of Yefremov and is at large, court officials said.

His 13-year-old daughter Maria, who has been taken from him by the authorities, wrote a supportive letter for his trial from the orphanage where she is living, according to his lawyer, telling him: “Daddy, you’re my hero.”

He has been separated from her since he was placed under house arrest earlier this month.

Moskalyov’s lawyer, Vladimir Biliyenko, said he had not seen his client since Monday and did not know whether he had fled, as he had only the court spokesperson’s statement to go by.

“At the moment, to be honest, I’m in a state of shock,” he said.

He said the defence would appeal against the verdict.

Moskalyov was investigated after his daughter, then 12, drew a picture showing Russian missiles raining down on a Ukrainian mother and child, prompting the head of the school to call the police.

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The drawing featured a Ukrainian flag with the words “Glory to Ukraine” and a Russian tricolour with the slogan “No to war”.

Moskalyov says he is ‘against’ Kremlin’s ‘special military operation’

Moskalyov was indicted for a series of social media posts about Russian atrocities in Ukraine and referencing the terrorist regime in Moscow – however he insists he did not make the posts.

In a short closing statement, Moskalyov said he was “against” what the Kremlin insists on calling a “special military operation”.

“How can one feel about death, about people who are dying? Adults are dying, children. … Only negatively – how else can one feel about a war?” he was quoted as saying by Russia’s independent news site Mediazona.

Russia outlawed the act of discrediting the armed forces shortly after it invaded Ukraine last year.

Court officials said Moskalyov fled house arrest overnight from his apartment in Yefremov, around 300km (186 miles) south of Moscow, and had apparently taken off a bracelet that tracked his movements.

When an official announced in court he had fled, some in attendance shouted: “Bravo!”

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