In OSCE, Ukraine called on Russia to release Sushchenko, Sentsov and other political prisoners
Ukraine urged OSCE member states to keep exerting pressure on Russia with the aim all Ukrainian political prisoners to be released. This has to become a litmus test for Russia's willingness to stop aggression against Ukraine. On May 16th, Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, made such a statement at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council, as to Ukrinform. "We take this opportunity to urge persistently and one again the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ukrainian citizens who are illegally detained or imprisoned due to fabricated and politically motivated charges, including Oleg Sentsov, Alexander Kolchenko, Stanislav Klykh, Roman Sushchenko, Volodymyr Baluch and many others," the diplomat said. He reminded that on May 10, it was a fifth anniversary as the Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov has been illegally detained in the occupied Simferopol due to and fabricated charges, and he has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. "Five years have passed, including its five-month hunger strike last year, but the Kremlin regime continues to use him and dozens other Ukrainian citizens as hostages with purpose to achieve their political goals," Prokopchuk said. The diplomat noted that on May 13-14, Russian courts also extended for another three months for the arrests of dozens of Crimean Tatars who had been illegally detained on March 27th in the occupied Crimea and subsequently transported to the territory of the Russian Federation in violation of the international law. According to the head of the Ukrainian diplomatic mission, the fact that the Russian Federation is ignoring all appeals from the international community, including those heard at the meetings of the OSCE Permanent Council, to release illegally detained Ukrainians "should not prevent us from continuing to make pressure on the Russian counterpart." "The release of illegally detained Ukrainian citizens remains a litmus test for Russia's willingness to cease its multidimensional aggression against Ukraine," he said. In total, about 100 Ukrainian political prisoners are held in Russia and the annexed Crimea, including Ukrinform's journalist Roman Sushchenko, who had been sentenced to 12 years in prison in a strict regime's colony for espionage.
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