MOSCOW, August 23 - RAPSI. Allegations voiced by Western politicians that the Pussy Riot case restricted artistic freedom are regarded as baseless in Moscow, according to Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

On February 21, 2012, five girls wearing brightly colored masks stormed the altar of downtown Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral to perform a protest song entitled, "Holy Sh*t." Shortly thereafter, a video of the performance was uploaded on to the Internet and incited a public outcry. Three Pussy Riot members were sentenced to two years in prison on August 17.

The MFA statement came in response to criticisms voiced by a number of Western politicians that believe the sentence handed down against Pussy Riot was disproportionate.

"Our detractors overlook the fact that to millions of Orthodox believers and people of other religions who adhere to traditional moral beliefs, the nature of this punk band's conduct is offensive," Lukashevich stated.

In response to the question of the severity of the punk band's punishment, Lukashevich noted that the sentence was passed after a thorough examination of all facts in line with the norms of criminal procedure and may be appealed in due course.

He added that this case served as merely a pretext for yet another bout of biased and politically motivated criticism.