MOSCOW - A Russian court on Monday sentenced a Ukrainian journalist to 12 years in a strict regime penal colony after he was found guilty of espionage, in a case Kiev has condemned as politically motivated.

Journalist Roman Sushchenko, who worked for Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform for more than a decade, was detained in Moscow in 2016. Russia’s FSB security agency accused him of serving in Ukrainian military intelligence and gathering state secrets.

Sushchenko, who had pleaded innocent, told AFP he would appeal the “unjust” verdict delivered by Judge Oleg Muzychenko of Moscow City Court.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko slammed the verdict on Monday.

“The unprecedented cynicism of the Russian ‘court’ which has falsely convicted the Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko proves that the Kremlin regime will stop at nothing in its quest to break the spirit of Ukrainians,” Poroshenko said in a Facebook post.