The ambassadors of the Group of Seven (G7) are deeply concerned over the situation with Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners illegally held in Russia, calling on Moscow to release the Ukrainians.
The release of political prisoners will be part of a broader bilateral swap of detainees, which will be "an important humanitarian step forward," the G7 Ambassadors' Support Group in Kyiv tweeted in Ukrainian.
UNIAN memo. Sentsov was detained by FSB operatives in Crimea in the spring of 2014. He was transferred to Russia, where he was tried on trumped-up charges of plotting terrorist attacks and arson of party offices on the peninsula. The Russian court in August 2015 sentenced Sentsov to 20 years in prison.
He is kept in a colony located in a distant town of Labytnangi in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area, Russia.
On May 14, Sentsov went on a hunger strike demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners.
On June 9, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the issue of exchanging detained persons.
It is noted that an agreement has been reached for ombudspersons of both countries to visit Russian nationals who are imprisoned in Ukraine and Ukrainian citizens detained in Russia.
On June 15, Ukraine Parliament's Ombudsperson Liudmyla Denisova was denied access to Sentsov, as well as to Ukrainian activist Mykola Karpiuk on June 16 and Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko on June 18.