Klimkin to raise issue of Ukrainian political prisoners, incl. Sentsov
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin will raise the issue of Ukrainian political prisoners at a meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Denmark on May 17-18, Ukraine's permanent representative to the Council of Europe Dmytro Kuleba has said.
"A ministerial meeting of the Council of Europe will take place in Denmark on May 17-18. The protection of rights and the release of our hostages in Russia and the occupied territories of Crimea and Donbas will be one of the key topics during the meetings of Pavlo Klimkin at this event," Kuleba wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.
At the same time, the Ukrainian permanent representative, commenting on the decision of Ukrainian political prisoner Oleh Sentsov, who went on a hunger strike on May 14, said: "The act is not of despair, but of force."
"The Council of Europe and other international players can and should do more. We will not be tire of insisting on this until all our political prisoners return home," added Kuleba.
Earlier on Wednesday, the web publication Hromadske said with reference to Sentsov's cousin Natalia Kaplan that Sentsov had declared a hunger strike.
"I, Oleh Sentsov, a citizen of Ukraine, who was illegally convicted by a Russian court and who is in a penal colony in Labytnangi, went on a timeless hunger strike on May 14, 2018. The only condition for its halt is the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners who are on the territory of Russia," Sentsov said in a statement, a scanned copy of which was published by the media outlet.
According to the media outlet, Sentsov has told his lawyer he had been preparing for this step for two months, refusing to take food brought for him from outside and "physically preparing the body."
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called on the international community to continue putting pressure on Moscow after Ukrainian citizen Oleh Sentsov convicted in Russia on terrorism charges had declared an open-ended hunger strike.
As reported, the Northern Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Sentsov, who was detained in Crimea in 2014, to 20 years in a high-security penitentiary in August 2015 for an attempt to create a terrorist community in Crimea.
Sentsov is serving his sentence in a high-security correctional facility known as Bely Medved (Polar Bear) in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District.
Ukraine, the international community has repeatedly called on the Russian Federation to release the illegally convicted Sentsov.