Ukraine’s Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko reacted to the denial of the Russian authorities, which refused to hand over to Ukraine Oleg Sentsov and Olexandr Kolchenko – as they are allegedly ‘Russian citizens’. Both are now serving time in Russia.
‘We will never leave our citizens alone against the enemy repressive machine. Their return to Ukraine is a necessary condition for further dialogue with Russia. If the Russian side doesn’t do so and continues to torture the political prisoners, I will initiate broadening of personal sanctions against the responsible Russian officials,’ Petrenko wrote at Facebook.
He added that the struggle for Sentsov and Kolchenko’s return will continue. ‘I will personally take these issues under control. We will make the Kremlin recognize their Ukrainian citizenship!’, Petrenko posted, adding that such actions make Russia an outsider among the democratic countries – members of the PACE.
Ukrainians Oleh Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko were sentenced to 20 years and 10 years respectively in a Russian prison following their trial in a military court in Rostov-on-Don. The sentence on suspicion of plotting terrorist acts in Crimea was pronounced August 25, 2015. Sentencing in a Russian military court of acclaimed Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and activist Oleksandr Kolchenko provoked a stormy reaction within the international community, which strongly condemned the groundless allegation and Russia's behaviour.