EU expects immediate release of all Ukrainians illegally detained in Russia and occupied Crimea

EU expects immediate release of all Ukrainians illegally detained in Russia and occupied Crimea

The European Union expects that all Ukrainians illegally detained in Russia and in the occupied Crimea will be immediately released.

EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Maja Kocijancic stated this in the statement on the cases of several detainees in or from the illegally-annexed Crimea and Sevastopol, published on the website of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

"The European Union expects international human rights standards on the peninsula to be upheld and all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia and on the Crimean peninsula to be released without delay," the statement reads.

On 14 May 2018, Oleg Sentsov, a film director deported to eastern Siberia, began a hunger strike after four years of imprisonment. Another illegally-detained Ukrainian citizen, Mr Volodymyr Balukh, has also recently spent two months on hunger strike.

They have opposed the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula and were sentenced, by courts whose jurisdiction the EU does not recognize, in breach of international law and elementary standards of justice. 

Adding to the extremely worrying number of Crimean Tatars who have been persecuted and had their rights gravely violated, activists Server Mustafayev and Edem Smailov were also detained on 21 May 2018.

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