Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 22 January 2015
The Delegation of Ukraine is compelled to raise again the issue of illegal detention by the Russian Federation of Ukrainian citizens Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov and others, who had been abducted from the territory of Ukraine.
We emphasize that these Ukrainian citizens are political prisoners in Russia and urge the Russian authorities to release them immediately and provide a safe return to Ukraine.
The kidnapping of the Ukrainian citizens, their illegal transfer across the Ukrainian-Russian state border, and their further placement in detention to face trumped-up charges constitute blatant violation of universal norms and principles of international law in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Their criminal prosecution is illegitimate.
We remain deeply concerned that despite many requests through diplomatic channels, the access of the Ukrainian consular officials to most of them, including Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, were denied by the Russian authorities in contravention of the international legal obligations under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, as well as the provisions of the 1994 Consular Convention between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, which stipulates an immediate access of a consular official to a detained citizen.
Ukraine is deeply alarmed over growing pressures on the people’s deputy of Ukraine and a member of the Permanent Delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Nadiya Savchenko, illegally kept behind bars in Russia, who has been on a hunger strike since December 13, 2014. Her health severely deteriorates while she remains resolute to continue to protest against the illegal actions of the Russian authorities.
We note the recent request by President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to the Speaker of the Russian State Duma asking for immediate release of detained Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, a member of the Permanent Delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe “in time to allow her to be present for the opening of the January part-session of the Assembly on Monday 26 January”. The PACE President rightfully underlined in her letter that all hostages and illegally detained persons must be released immediately in accordance with the Minsk agreements.
We again voice our call to the Serbian Chairmanship to use its mandate to the full in facilitating the release of abducted and illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.
We urge the Russian authorities to respond to the calls of Ukraine and international community to ensure immediate and unconditional release of Nadiya Savchenko and other Ukrainian citizens, who are illegally detained in Russia.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.