Statement on Detained Ukrainian Citizens in Russia

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Kate Byrnes
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
November 13, 2014

The United States joins Ukraine and the European Union in condemning the continued detention by Russia of pilot Nadiya Savchenko and film producer Oleg Sentsov. Both were captured by separatists in Ukraine and illegally smuggled over the border.  As we have stated on repeated occasions, these continued detentions contravene the commitments made in Minsk and derail good faith efforts to de-escalate the crisis.

Regarding Nadiya Savchenko, we note this week’s court hearing in which it became clear  she is being accused of a crime against the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic,” as if it were a formal legal entity. We condemn these acts of intimidation and call for her immediate release. We remind the Permanent Council that Ms. Savchenko was duly elected to serve as a member of parliament in Ukraine, and we urge that she be released immediately so she may assume her duties.

Madam Chair, let me also take this opportunity to condemn the continued detention by separatists of hostages, also in contravention of the Minsk agreements. We understand that the separatists hold at least 500 hostages, including civilians. We reiterate that all hostages should be released immediately.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

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