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Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine on “Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation”
13 November 2014 18:30

Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 13 November 2014

Mr. Chairman,

The Delegation of Ukraine reiterates its condemnation of the abduction of Ukrainian servicewoman Nadiya Savchenko, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian citizens from the territory of Ukraine and their illegal detention on the territory of the Russian Federation.

We remain concerned over the fate of Nadiya Savchenko, who was abducted from the territory of Ukraine in June 2014 by the terrorist organization “Luhansk people’s republic” and illegally detained by the Russian law-enforcement on trumped-up charges.

On 11 November the Basmanny district court of Moscow rendered lawful the ruling on forensic psychiatric evaluation of Ms.Savchenko and dismissed the respective appeal of Savchenko’s defence. I would like to remind that the court delayed the hearings on the matter for several times since mid-October and considered the appeal only after the evaluation took place. At the same time, the only action in relation of Ms.Savchenko during her stay in the Serbskiy Institute was an evaluation while discharging from the hospital.

I again draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the fact that the Basmanny district court of Moscow referred to in its decision to certain areas in Ukraine’s east as “Donetsk people’s republic” and “Luhansk people’s republic”.  As we have not yet received a response from the Russian delegation on similar pronouncements, made earlier by Voronezh court, I reiterate my request to the distinguished Russian Ambassador to provide us with exhaustive explanations on what appears to be a de-facto recognition by the Russian state authorities of these illegal entities.

The “Savchenko case” was groundless and absurd from the very start. Yet the absurdity is taken to new levels as the prosecution concocted a new charge against Ms.Savchenko – for “illegal crossing of the border”. 

At the same time, the Russian law-enforcement fail to conduct any investigative actions in connection with identification by Ms.Savchenko of Ihor Plotnitskiy, current leader of the terrorist organization “Luhansk people’s republic”, as one of her kidnappers. Until recently he was a commander of a terrorist battalion “Zarya’. I would like to inform in this regard that on 30 October the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine initiated a criminal case against Plotnitskiy and Russian citizen Popov on suspicion of abduction of Nadiya Savchenko.

We view as unacceptable the practice of permanent pressure on illegally detained Nadiya Savchenko, which, among other, takes the form of depriving her meetings with the relatives. On 5 November her sister, who came to Russia to visit Ms.Savchenko, was not allowed to enter the country and was deported to Ukraine from Moscow airport “Domodedovo”. We consider this decision of Russian authorities as groundless and violating procedural rights of Ms.Savchenko.

We remain gravely concerned over the situation with Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian citizens, who were illegally detained in May in the occupied Crimea and charged with terrorism. Until now those Ukrainian citizens, who reported torture and humiliation, have not been granted a meeting with the Ukrainian consular officer. The Russian court has extended the groundless arrest of Oleh Sentsov till January 2015.

I would also like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the case of another Ukrainian citizen, illegally detained in the Russian Federation – Sergyi Lytvynov. On 10 November 2014 the consul of the Embassy of Ukraine to the Russian Federation had a meeting with Sergyi Lytvynov who has been placed to the Serbskiy Institute while his case is being investigated by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.

During the meeting with the consul S.Lytvynov denied all allegations of the prosecution, including those of being a member of the battalion “Dnipro” and of his involvement in the killing of civilians in the Donbas.

S.Lytvynov reported about violations of his rights during the detention, being subjected to physical abuse, torture and psychological pressure from the Russian officials.

During his stay in the hospital in the Rostov region, masked FSB officers took him to the woods for so-called "interrogation", put the bag on his head and used physical violence to beat out confessions. S.Lytvynov was subjected to the same physical violence at the penitentiary institutions in the Rostov region.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine requested an official investigation into the actions of Russian officials to ensure respect for international law in the case of Ukrainian citizen S.Lytvynov, as well as his release and return to Ukraine.

We strongly condemn the illegal actions of the Russian authorities which are unjustified and politically motivated and run counter the norms of international law and OSCE principles and commitments.

We underline again that these Ukrainian citizens are political prisoners in Russia and we urge the Russian authorities to release them immediately and provide a safe return to Ukraine. We reiterate our call on the Swiss Chairmanship to use its mandate to the full in facilitating their release.

Thank you, Mr.Chairman.

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