U.S. calls on Russia to release all unjustly imprisoned Ukrainians

21:55, 08 September 2019
Politics
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REUTERS

"The United States welcomes the news of the release of 35 Ukrainians held by Russia, in exchange for 35 prisoners held by Ukraine.  We have consistently called for the release of the 24 Ukrainian crewmembers detained by Russia following the November 2018 attack on Ukrainian vessels in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait, as well as Oleh Sentsov and other political prisoners.  We welcome the announcement that they have returned home," the U.S. Department of State said in a statement on September 8. "We call on Russia to immediately release all other Ukrainians, including members of the Crimean Tatar community, who remain unjustly imprisoned."

"We are encouraged to see signs of a more robust dialogue between Russia and Ukraine.  President Zelensky has made clear his commitment to achieving a diplomatic solution to the Russia-instigated conflict in eastern Ukraine," the statement said.

"We support President Zelensky's effort, and call on Russia to fulfill all of its commitments made under the Minsk agreements," it said.

Read alsoNATO welcomes prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia

As UNIAN reported earlier, 24 Ukrainian sailors, who were captured by Russian special forces near the Kerch Strait in November 2018, and 11 political prisoners were returned by Russia to Ukraine as part of a prisoner exchange operation on September 7. The political prisoners include Roman Sushchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Volodymyr Balukh, Stanislav Klykh, Mykola Karpyuk, Oleksiy Syzonovych, Pavlo Hryb, Edem Bekirov, Yevhen Panov, and Arthur Panov.

Meanwhile, 35 people were transferred to Russia. All of them were convicted of various crimes in Ukraine or are persons involved in criminal proceedings, including an investigation in the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014.

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