Oleg Sentsov, who was released from a Russian prison, said that during the annexation of Crimea, he had transported out half of the Ukrainian soldiers. He said this at the first press conference after the liberation, in which Sentsov was with Oleksandr Kolchenko. The press conference was broadcasted by 112 Ukraine channel.
Sentsov said that when the Russian military had begun to seize the peninsula, he, along with other activists, held rallies and protests.
“Can you imagine protests in Crimea, in which Russian troops are present, all the security forces are behind them, it is on the eve of the referendum, and we are holding a car rally with Ukrainian flags. We drove to the center, where everyone blocked us. The rallies were very risky, but we did it just to show that there are people who are against it,” Oleg Sentsov said.
He added that when the evacuation of the military began, he helped to take them to Ukraine-controlled territory. He said then he managed to transport half of the Ukrainian soldiers out of Crimea.
“Later, when the evacuation was almost over, someone from the General Staff or Deputy Minister of Defense called me, I don’t remember exactly, and asked who was remaining there. I say: “And you don’t know?” They said no, and I had more detailed information,” Oleg Sentsov said.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine officially announced February 20, 2014, to be the year of the beginning of the temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia. On October 2015, then-President Petro Poroshenko signed the proper law.
The international organization recognized the occupation and annexation of Crimea as illegal and condemned the actions of Russia. West imposed the number of sanctions against Russia.
Russia denies the occupation of the peninsula and calls it “the restoration of the historical justice”.