Football World Cup: Pussy Riot members jailed after final pitch invasion

Two of the four members of the political punk band Pussy Riot have been sentenced to 15 days in jail after they invaded the pitch in police uniform during the World Cup final in Moscow.

A court on Monday (NZ time) sentenced Veronika Nikulshina and Olga Kuracheva after finding them guilty of violating the law on behavior of sports events spectators.

They were also banned from attending sports events for three years. It was not immediately clear when the cases of the other two protesters would be decided.

The members ran onto the field at the Luzhniki Stadium in protest against the imprisonment of Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, a fierce critic of Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region who was charged with plotting terrorist attacks in the area.

"Let all political prisoners free. Free Oleg Sentsov," the band wrote on Facebook.

Sentsov, best known for his 2011 motion picture Gamer, an acclaimed drama about a video-game enthusiast in Crimea, was sentenced to two decades in prison by a Russian court a year after the annexation.

Russia occupied and annexed the Black Sea peninsula, the long-time site of a major Russian naval base, in response to Ukraine ousting its pro-Russian president in a pivot to the West.

The annexation evoked widespread outcry and led to a series of tit-for-tat sanctions between Russia and Western powers, including the European Union and the United States.

Pussy Riot became famous in 2012, when two members were imprisoned for more than a year for hooliganism, over a protest in a prominent Moscow cathedral.

DPA