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MFA asks international community to help free Ukrainian hostages in Russia

MFA asks international community to help free Ukrainian hostages in Russia

Statement of the MFA of Ukraine in connection with the illegal detention of the hostages Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov and other citizens of Ukraine
August 8, 2014

Russia has launched a systematic attack on the rights and freedoms of the citizens of Ukraine, violating universal norms and principles of international law.

For more than a month now, Nadiya Savchenko, a member of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, has been detained without any legal grounds in the pretrial detention center in Voronezh (Russian Federation) following her kidnapping in the Luhansk Oblast and illegal transfer by Russian special services to Russian territory.

The well-known Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov and  citizens of Ukraine Hennadiy Afanasev, Oleksiy Chirniy and Oleksandr Kolchenko were kidnapped in May this year in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and continue to be detained  on Russian territory under false pretenses. The Russian side has imposed Russian citizenship on them against their will, is subjecting them to constant moral and psychological pressure and, in several cases, is employing methods of punitive psychiatry.

Yesterday and today the Russian secret services illegally detained a total of six Ukrainian soldiers, against whom they are attempting to fabricate charges of the supposed “shelling of Russian territory” and “the use of prohibited methods of war.”

The Russian Federation, ignoring international law, has barred the Consul of Ukraine from visiting the illegally detained citizens of Ukraine. Furthermore, during the court hearing today (August 8) in the fabricated case against the Ukrainian military personnel, the court declared the meeting closed and removed the Consul of Ukraine from the courtroom, thereby harshly depriving our citizens of consular and legal protection.

In light of these efforts by Russian authorities to falsify the cases against our fellow citizens, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine believes that their kidnapping and illegal detention in the Russian Federation is politically motivated and provides all the legal grounds for considering  Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov and other citizens of Ukraine as political prisoners.

As ordered by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government bodies will continue to pursue complex political, diplomatic, consular, and legal measures to return our citizens home as soon as possible.

Today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine held an interagency meeting with attorneys on the defense team of Nadiya Sevchenko, where participants agreed to a program for further joint action to obtain the release of Nadiya, who, for all of us, has become the symbol of courage, invincibility, and loyalty to our Homeland and the Ukrainian people.

Ukraine calls on the international community to put additional pressure on the Russian Federation in order to obtain the immediate release of Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov and other citizens of Ukraine, who were kidnapped, illegally transferred, and continue to be held hostage on the territory of the Russian Federation.

We are convinced that the civilized world will not tolerate the further neglect by the Russian Federation of the norms of international law and will make every effort to bring to justice all those responsible for these egregious violations of human rights and freedoms.

Translated by Anna Mostovych


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