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Statement by the Delegation of Ukraine on "Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation”
08 April 2016 12:11

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 April 2016

Dear colleagues,

The Delegation of Ukraine takes the floor to inform the Permanent Council that since the last regular meeting in March the situation with regard to the abducted and illegally detained Ukrainian citizens Nadiya Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and others by the Russian Federation has significantly deteriorated.

On 22 March, the politically-motivated so-called “trial” of people’s deputy of Ukraine and PACE member Nadiya Savchenko has expectedly fulfilled Kremlin’s political order by announcing a political prisoner - citizen of Ukraine “guilty” and enjailing her for 22 years. The ample evidence of Savchenko’s innocence presented by the defence was dismissed and not attached to the case files.

On 6 April, N.Savchenko went on a dry hunger strike to protest against the injustice and unlawful verdict, which came into effect on 5 April.

We express again our resolute protest over the judicial farce designed to enjail under fabricated charges. The Russian authorities showed contempt to the rule of law by decisively crushing the notions of fairness, justice and humanity.

We are outraged by the refusal of the Russian authorities to allow Ukrainian doctors to visit Nadiya Savchenko, thus attempting to conceal her real health conditions and mislead the international community about her so-called “satisfactory state of health”. Yesterday, the Russian authorities denied access of Ukrainian consular officers.   

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has urged Russia to immediately allow Ukrainian doctors to visit Nadiya Savchenko and to release her without delay in accordance with the Minsk agreements, signed by the Russian Federation.

We emphasize that the Russian Federation bears full responsibility for her life and health.

We welcome the decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 30 March expressing concern over Ms Savchenko’s ongoing illegal detention in the Russian Federation and calling upon the Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Nadiya Savchenko on humanitarian grounds, and in keeping with the “Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements”.

We thank the international community for the remarkable support and solidarity in seeking freedom for Nadiya Savchenko and remain confident that everyone responsible for persecution of Ukrainian citizens – political prisoners in Russia, must bear responsibility and face international restrictions.

On 30 March, the President of Ukraine signed into force a sanction list against individuals involved in unlawful actions against the illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia, which was earlier approved by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.

Dear colleagues,

In the fabricated case against illegally detained citizens of Ukraine Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh, the Russian authorities chose the course of pressure and intimidation against all those, who arrived to Grozny to attend the hearings, and deliberately sought to hamper the participation of defence witnesses.

The Ukrainian consul, who arrived to the hearings, was attacked by unknown persons in Grozny on 16 March 2016. The attack on a person enjoying diplomatic immunity is a flagrant violation of the international norms. We demand the Russian Federation to effectively investigate the incident and bring perpetrators to justice.

Distinguished colleagues,

We are alarmed by the situation of another Ukrainian citizen, a 73-year-old Yuriy Soloshenko, illegally imprisoned in Russia to 6 years in prison on fabricated charges. Despite Soloshenko’s serious illness and significant deterioration of health, he was transferred from the medical unit of the colony to general regime. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine demanded Russia to provide the illegally sentenced Yuri Soloshenko with necessary medical care and ensure his immediate and unconditional release.

The Ukrainian authorities also expressed protest to Russia in the case of Valentyn Vyhivskyi, Ukrainian citizen and a political prisoner in Russia imprisoned to 11 years on fabricated charges.

Mr. Chairman,

We note with regret that the ODIHR has not been allowed to officially monitor Savchenko’s trial and other cases despite the requests.

We underline the need to undertake due monitoring activities in Russia in connection with the reports of torture against the illegally detained Ukrainian citizens, as well as serious violations of their rights to a fair trial. In light of our previous requests, we encourage the ODIHR to closely cooperate with the UN and the Council of Europe on this issue.

We call on the German OSCE Chairmanship and all OSCE participating States to use all available instruments and to step up pressure on the Russian Federation to ensure the release of Nadiya Savchenko and other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.

We urge the Russian Federation to comply with its obligations under international law and the Minsk agreements and to immediately and unconditionally release all Ukrainian citizens illegally detained or imprisoned in Russia.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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