Statement on Detained Ukrainian Citizens in Russia

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the Permanent Council, Vienna | October 16, 2014

The United States joins Ukraine and the European Union in condemning the Russian Federation’s continued detention of Ukrainian citizens, including pilot Nadia Savchenko and film producer Oleg Sentsov. As we stated previously, these detentions betray the commitments made in Minsk and derail good faith efforts to de-escalate the crisis.

At last week’s Permanent Council, the representative of the Russian Federation stated that our concerns regarding these detentions would be relayed to Moscow. Yet this week, it seems our calls have gone unheard, as we received the news that Ms. Savchenko’s next hearing will be delayed for yet another month and that she will have to submit to a month-long psychiatric evaluation. This is reminiscent of the abuse of psychiatry for political purposes to which dissidents were subjected in Soviet times. We call for Nadia Savchenko’s immediate release and further call on Russia to allow international humanitarian organizations access to her.

The United States also condemns the detention of Ukrainian film director and pro-Maidan activist Oleg Sentsov, who has been held since May 11 on apparently baseless charges. We were troubled by the news this week that Russian authorities have refused to investigate allegations that Sentsov was tortured in detention.

We call on Russia to honor its international obligations and its OSCE commitments and reiterate our call for the immediate release of these Ukrainian citizens and others detained on similarly questionable grounds.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

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