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Russia continues violating its Minsk commitments by illegally detaining Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov and other Ukrainian citizens, abducted from the territory of Ukraine
13 March 2015 19:30

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine, delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 12 March 2015

Mr. Chairman,

As we meet the Russian Federation, in violation of its Minsk commitments and international obligations within the Council of Europe, continues to illegally detain the people’s deputy of Ukraine and member of the Permanent Delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the PACE Nadiya Savchenko as well as Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and other Ukrainian citizens, who had been abducted from the territory of Ukraine.

We reiterate that according to the Minsk agreements all hostages and illegally detained persons must be released based on the principle “all for all”. This includes Ukrainian citizens, who had been abducted from Ukrainian territory and illegally detained in Russia.

We also remind to the Russian side that immediate release of N.Savchenko, as a person enjoying international diplomatic immunities and exempted from arrest and prosecution as PACE member, remains Russia’s legal obligation under the Article 15 of the 1949 General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe.

The Decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted on 04 March 2015 emphasizes that Ms. Savchenko must fully enjoy the guarantees provided by the European Convention on Human Rights and the other relevant Council of Europe instruments.

Given the significant deterioration of Savchenko’s health, we call on the Russian authorities to provide access for the Ukrainian doctors, as well as immediately release her from custody to enable urgent hospitalization in one of the Ukrainian or European clinics.

We stress again that Russia bears the entire responsibility for the life and health of Nadiya Savchenko.

I reiterate our request, addressed to the Russian Delegation at the PC meeting on 05 March 2015, to clarify whether information regarding the immunities of N.Savchenko was provided by the Russian Foreign Ministry in accordance with Article 3 of the Criminal Procedural Code of the Russian Federation “Application of the Criminal Procedural Law with Respect to Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons”.

Distinguished colleagues,

Ukrainian side remains alarmed that no positive developments have been registered in relation to the cases of other Ukrainian citizens, who are illegally detained in Russia, and are persecuted as political prisoners in violation of their human rights and fundamental freedoms and in contravention of the norms of international law.

We take this opportunity to draw attention to the Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine of 05 March 2015, expressing concern over the growing number of cases of arbitrary detention of Ukrainian citizens in the territory of the Russian Federation, the inhumane actions of the Russian law-enforcement officials towards Ukrainians, including practice of physical intimidation and psychological pressure. Such actions, as well as numerous cases of denial to Ukrainian consular officers to have access to Ukrainian citizens, violate Russia’s international legal obligations under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the 1994 Consular Convention between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

The unacceptable discriminatory policy towards Ukrainians in Russia has become systemic and raises a serious concern over Russia’s failure to observe its OSCE commitments and international obligations.

Under such worrying circumstances the MFA of Ukraine was compelled to issue a warning notice to the attention of the Ukrainians travelling to the Russian Federation.

We call upon the OSCE ODIHR and HCNM to give due attention to the above alarming trends within their respective mandates.

We call upon the OSCE Chairmanship to contribute to efforts in facilitating the release of abducted and illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.

We urge the Russian side to fully comply with its commitments and obligations, and immediately and unconditionally release all illegally detained persons and hostages, as well as put an end to all discriminatory practices towards Ukrainians in Russia.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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