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Delegation of Ukraine to the OSCE Emphasized Necessity to Release Ukrainian Citizens - Political Prisoners in Russia
29 May 2015 18:51

Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine, delivered at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 28 May 2015

Mr. Chairman,

The Delegation of Ukraine takes the floor to draw again the attention of the Permanent Council to the on-going violation by the Russian Federation of its Minsk commitments and international obligations within the Council of Europe as it continues to illegally detain for already one year people’s deputy of Ukraine and PACE’s member Nadiya Savchenko, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and other Ukrainian citizens.

We strongly condemn the abduction from the territory of Ukraine of Ukrainian citizens, their unlawful transfer across the Ukrainian-Russian state border and further illegal detention in the Russian Federation.

We reiterate that the provisions of Minsk agreements regarding the release of all hostages and illegally detained persons on the basis of “all for all” principle apply to the Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia.

The release of Nadiya Savchenko, as a person enjoying international diplomatic immunities and exempted from arrest and prosecution, remains a legal obligation of the Russian Federation under Article 15 of the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe. According to the Opinion of the PACE’s Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs Ms Savchenko should not have been subject to any detention or prosecution measures from the moment her credentials were ratified, that is from January of 2015.

Dear colleagues,

The two-week action to support the immediate release of Ukrainian film-director Oleg Sentsov took place at the Cannes International Film Festival on 13-22 May. The world filmmakers demonstrated strong solidarity with Oleg Sentsov, expressed grave concern about his fate and demanded Russia to free him.

We note with great appreciation that since May last year, the European Film Academy (EFA) has been active in raising public awareness on Sentsov’s case - a letter has been sent to the Russian authorities, an appeal sent out in co-operation with the French Film Directors’ Guild (SRF) and signed by hundreds of filmmakers across Europe, special screenings and events have been held, and a support fund was initiated. A number of festivals - Venice, Warsaw, Motovun, San Sebastian, and the Catalan Gaudi Awards - have picked up the "empty chair" idea by including Oleg Sentsov in their jury to raise awareness of his illegal detention by the Russian authorities.

Mr. Chairman,

We reiterate that the situation with Ukrainian citizens Mykola Karpyuk, Stanislav Klyh and others, to whom the Russian authorities have not allowed access of the Ukrainian consular officers despite dozens of appeals by diplomatic channels, is totally unacceptable. Such actions contravene the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the 1993 Consular Convention between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

We call on the Russian Federation to strictly abide by the norms and principles of international law, the OSCE principles and commitments, the Minsk agreements and to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov and other Ukrainian citizens that are illegally detained in Russia, as well as to ensure their safe return to Ukraine.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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