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Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine on "Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation”
11 May 2015 10:17

Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 7 May 2015

Mr. Chairman,

We reiterate our deep concern over the persistently demonstrated unwillingness of the Russian Federation to comply with its Minsk commitment regarding the release of all hostages and illegally detained persons on the basis of “all for all” principle, which applies to the Ukrainian citizens Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and many other Ukrainians, who had been abducted from the territory of Ukraine, and are illegally detained in Russia.  

On 5 May 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine issued a statement strongly condemning the decision of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation to extend the preliminary investigation of the Savchenko case for another six months, until 13 November 2015.

For nearly a year now the Russian law enforcement authorities have failed to present any credible evidence of her guilt as she has been detained on trumped-up charges. We deplore that instead of releasing Nadiya Savchenko in view of irrefutable evidence of her innocence presented to the court and prosecution, the Russian authorities continue to illegally keep Ms. Savchenko behind bars.

We express our resolute protest against the inhumane actions of the Russian authorities, which are outside the boundaries of both justice and morality. We emphasize that Russia bears full responsibility for the life and health of Nadiya Savchenko.

We view as unacceptable that Russia continues to ignore the fact that the people’s deputy of Ukraine and member of the Permanent Delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to the PACE Nadiya Savchenko is enjoying diplomatic immunity. By its actions the Russian Federation violates its obligations as a Council of Europe member-state and a party to the legally binding 1949 General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe.

The yesterday’s refusal by the Moscow’s Basmanny District Court to accept Savchenko’s diplomatic immunity, despite the PACE’s full recognition of her immunity, is plainly a mockery over the norms of international law. It leaves no doubts why the term “Basmanny justice” was coined in Russia itself epitomising the authorities’ control over the courts.

Distinguished colleagues,

We again reiterate our profound gratitude to the international community for the solidarity and support in facilitating the release of Nadiya Savchenko and other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. Adding to the voices of the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe and the OSCE, the recently adopted resolutions of the European Parliament and the US Congress on the Savchenko case have demonstrated the remarkable unity of the parliamentary institutions in standing up against lawlessness.

Both documents strongly condemn the illegal abduction and imprisonment of Nadiya Savchenko, call on the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release her and other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in line with the Minsk agreements, as well as underline the need in allowing unrestricted monitoring of Ms. Savchenko’s health by Ukrainian and international doctors.

Mr. Chairman,

We deplore that the Russian authorities continue to ignore numerous calls of the international community and continue to illegally keep behind bars Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Henadiy Afanasyev, Oleksiy Chirniy, Mykola Karpyuk, Stanislav Klyh, Yuri Soloshenko, Valentyn Vyhivskyi and Serhiy Lytvynov.

We draw attention that this is not an exhaustive list of Ukrainian citizens - political prisoners as the Russian Federation is strengthening its repressive policies on the illegally occupied territories.

Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov’s detention in Russia’s prison has been unfoundedly extended once again - this time until 11 July 2015. No evidence of his guilt has been provided by the Russian authorities for almost a year of his detention. By insisting at the court hearing, in violation of international law, that Sentsov is a Russian citizen, Russian authorities denied once again his rights to which he is entitled to as Ukrainian citizen.

We call on the Russian side to provide for unhindered access of Ukrainian consular officials to the Ukrainian citizens at their places of detention in Russia.

We urge the Russian authorities to strictly comply with its Minsk commitment regarding the release of all hostages and illegally detained persons, as well as respond to the calls of Ukraine and international community to ensure without any delay the unconditional release of Nadiya Savchenko and other Ukrainian citizens, who are illegally detained in Russia.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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