The ambassador recalled in his speech that in its closing statement at last year's meeting the United States delegation called for the release of filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian citizens held by the Russian Federation due to their peaceful opposition to the occupation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine.
"As we open the 2018 HDIM, Mr. Sentsov is in perilous health on the 120th day of his hunger strike to protest Russia's unlawful imprisonment of over 60 of his fellow countrymen. We call on Russia to release these prisoners. We are alarmed about the prospect of another innocent person dying in Russian custody," Kozak said.
He added that Russia's ongoing aggression against Ukraine contravenes the Helsinki Final Act's ten foundational principles, including the inviolability of frontiers and the territorial integrity of states. According to Kozak, Sentsov and his imprisoned Ukrainian countrymen are "flesh and blood embodiments of the connection between Russia's breaches of international security and its abuse of human rights."
Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, a native of Crimea, who was illegally sentenced to 20 years in prison in Russia, declared a hunger strike on May 14, 2018, demanding the release of all Ukrainians, political prisoners of the Kremlin.
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