EU expects early release of all Ukrainians illegally detained in Crimea, Russia

 The European Union supports the provision of full access to international experts for the protection of human rights to the annexed Crimea and expects the speedy release of all Ukrainians who are illegally detained on the peninsula and in Russia, the EU press secretary said in a statement.

According to the statement, which was made public on Friday on the page of the EU Delegation to Ukraine on Facebook, on 16 January 2018, Volodymyr Balukh, known to have opposed the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation, was sentenced to three years and seven months in a penal colony by a court in the peninsula, whose jurisdiction the EU does not recognize.

On the other hand, Crimean Tatar activist Bekir Dehermendzhy was detained on 23 November last year in Simferopol on dubious charges. "In view of the critical medical condition he suffers, it is essential that he is immediately granted access to appropriate medical care," the statement reads.

The EU insists on providing "full, free and unhindered access" to the peninsula for international experts for the protection of human rights. "The European Union expects all illegally-detained Ukrainian citizens in the illegally-annexed Crimean peninsula and in Russia to be released as swiftly as possible. The European Union remains committed to fully implementing its policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol," it reads.