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Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine on "Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation”
05 February 2016 18:56

Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, at the meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 4 February 2016

Mr. Chairman,

Today is the 31st time that the Delegation of Ukraine raises a specific current issue “Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation” to express our protest against the flagrant violation by the Russian Federation of its Minsk commitments and international obligations as it continues to illegally detain Ukrainian citizens Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and others.

For over 20 months the Russian Federation disregards repeated calls by the Ukrainian authorities and international community to free all Ukrainian citizens abducted from the territory of Ukraine and illegally detained or imprisoned in Russia.

In last week’s Resolution 2087 (2016) the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe condemned again the violation by the Russian Federation of the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe and called on the Russian authorities to immediately release people's deputy of Ukraine and PACE member Nadiya Savchenko.

Instead, Russia chose to blatantly ignore its legally binding obligations under international law and continues its judicial farce against N.Savchenko.

This farce is marked by systematic violations of basic procedural rules and Savchenko’s rights as the Russian court refuses to examine the official documents from Ukraine presented by the defense lawyers, refuses to summon defense’s witnesses, denies inclusion of materials presented by the defense such as records of interrogations of witnesses, materials on the investigation into the kidnapping of a Ukrainian citizen, examination of video, which contain indisputable proof of Savchenko’s innocence.

Groundlessly incarcerated in Russia for a year and a half now, N.Savchenko is in the 49th day of her hunger strike to protest against the illegal and inhumane actions of the Russian authorities.

While testifying on 01 February 2016 Nadiya Savchenko stated: "Every single word I speak here will be the truth. I am again asking for a lie detector test that will be further proof of my truth, but you will again refuse me of this". She described her military history and her activities on 17 June 2014, which again proved to the factual baselessness of all allegations, fabricated by the Russian authorities. She also identified Pavel Karpov, known in Russia for his affiliation with the President’s administration, as one of the men who abducted her from the territory of Ukraine. The defense presented in the hearing an audio recording of a telephone conversation between P.Karpov and one of the leaders of Luhansk armed militants Bolotov after the capture of N.Savchenko.

Dear colleagues,

On political motivation the Russian courts announced already six unlawful verdicts - against Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Henadiy Afanasyev, Oleksiy Chirniy, Yuri Soloshenko and Valentyn Vyhivskyi.

Furthermore, other politically motivated and fabricated trials continue against Nadiya Savchenko, Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klyh.

We view the refusal by Russia to meet the ODIHR’s requests on conduct of independent trial monitoring in the cases of illegally detained Ukrainian citizens as Russia’s determination to conceal the truth and disregard for the OSCE commitments.

We are deeply concerned about the silence of the Russian authorities over reported acts of torture and other ill-treatment against Mykola Karpyuk, Stanislav Klyh, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Henadiy Afanasyev and other political prisoners.

In light of the ODIHR’s mandate in the area of torture prevention, we request through the Chairmanship that the ODIHR gives immediate attention to the reports of torture against the Ukrainian citizens in Russia and assists Russia’s compliance with its OSCE commitments and international obligations on preventing and combating torture.

We urge the Russian Federation to implement its Minsk commitment regarding the release of all hostages and illegally detained persons and to ensure immediate and unconditional release of Nadiya Savchenko and others.

We call on the Chairmanship, as the guardian of the OSCE principles and commitments, to use in full its mandate in facilitating the release of all abducted and illegally detained or imprisoned Ukrainian citizens in Russia. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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