EU urges release of Ukrainians illegally detained in Russia, occupied Crimea
The European Union urged Moscow to release Ukrainian citizens illegally detained both in Russia and in the occupied Crimea, according to a statement on the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula by Maja Kocijancic, the EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.
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 statement reads.
The spokesperson recalled that on January 16, 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.
Read alsoPutin to seek to "swap" Crimea for Donbas after elected for new term – analystOn the other hand, Crimean Tatar activist Bekir Dehermendzhy was detained on November 23 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 spokesperson also said that international human rights observers "must be granted full, free and unhindered access to the peninsula".
It was underlined that the European Union "remains committed to fully implementing its policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol".