Vadym Prystaiko / Photo from UNIAN

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Vadym Prystaiko has called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to intensify efforts toward the release of Ukrainian nationals illegally held by the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea and Donbas.

The statement came as Prystaiko was addressing participants in the high-level segment of the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, according to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

Prystaiko "noted the need to incorporate a human rights component into all aspects of the UN's work, without which it is impossible to achieve progress toward peace, security, and sustainable development," the report says.

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"Arriving at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council from New York, where the UN General Assembly examined the situation in the occupied territories of Ukraine, Prystaiko noted the importance of closer cooperation between the two international capitals in the field of protecting human rights and its fundamental freedoms," the Foreign Ministry said.

The Minister also drew the attention of delegations to gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms committed by the Russian occupation authorities in the Ukrainian territories and blocking of access to international monitoring mechanisms. He called on the UN Human Rights Council, UN human rights mechanisms, and the international community as a whole to multiply efforts in order to have Russia to cease these violations and release the Ukrainians illegally imprisoned by the occupation authorities.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Prystaiko will be in Geneva on February 24-25 to participate in the high-level segment of the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Former Kremlin political prisoners Volodymyr Balukh and Eden Bekirov will also take part in the event.