Russia launches probe into possibly 'Kiev-incited' Quran burning
Russia is launching a criminal investigation into a Quran-burning incident suspected to have been instigated by Ukraine.
Russia's main investigative authority said Saturday that it opened a criminal investigation into a recent burning of a copy of the Holy Quran in Volgograd, which is suspected to have been masterminded in Ukraine.
"Nikita Zhuravel, a local resident, has been arrested on suspicion of committing a crime under Section 2 Article 148 of the Russian Criminal Code," the Investigative Committee told Sputnik.
Following the internet posting of a video showing a man burning a copy of the Quran in front of a mosque in Volgograd, Russian detectives started a manhunt. Due to allegations of hurting religious sentiments, Zhuravel might spend up to three years in jail if proven guilty.
According to the commission, the suspect admitted to receiving 10,000 rubles ($125) from Ukrainian operatives as payment for arranging and documenting the burning of the Quran. Additionally, he claimed to have produced movies of Russian military installations for Ukrainians.
This comes in the wake of several Quran-burning events that took place in Sweden, a country aspiring to join NATO alongside Ukraine.
Following the outbreak of the Ukraine war, Sweden and Finland both submitted applications to join NATO last year. However, their bids for accession require the unanimous approval of all 30 NATO member states to be considered. Sweden's is still pending, with Turkey citing its Quran burning as the reason.
After a series of provocative moves against Turkey, which included granting permission for the leader of the Danish party to burn a copy of the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, as well as the pro-Kurdish protest where an effigy of President Erdogan was hanged in Stockholm, Ankara has expressly rejected Sweden's application to join NATO.