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Sentsov not be exchanged for Russians kept in U.S., - State Department source

The U.S. State Department denied rumors that the negotiations on the exchange of Oleg Sentsov for Russians Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko convicted in the U.S. and Maria Butina, who is kept in detention
16:00, 2 October 2018

Open source

The U.S. does not consider the option of exchange of the Ukrainian movie director Oleg Sentsov for three Russians kept in custody in America, as the Russian BBC service reported referring to the source in the U.S. State Department.

“Any pointless attempt of Russia to use an illegal detention of a Ukrainian as a basis for the talks was another sign that Russia treats the human rights, Ukraine’s sovereignty and the supremacy of law with poor respect,” the statement of the interlocutor of Russian BBC service in the State Department.

“The charges against Sentsov are unreasonable, it is a cynical revenge for his position concerning Russia’s occupation of Crimea,” the State Department statement says.

Related: Kremlin will not exchange Sentsov because he's convicted as terrorist, - media

Earlier, it was reported that Russia was ready to exchange the Ukrainian film director and political prisoner Oleg Sentsov for the Russians convicted in the US Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, as well as Maria Butina, who is under arrest.

Viktor Bout is a Russian entrepreneur, convicted in 2012 in the United States for 25 years in prison for intending to illegally trade in arms and support terrorism. Konstantin Yaroshenko was arrested on May 28, 2010 in Liberia by officers of the republic's special services on charges of preparing for transportation of a large batch of cocaine. Then the pilot was deported to the United States. On September 7, 2011, the US Court for the Southern District of New York City prepared Yaroshenko to 20 years in prison, finding him guilty of conspiracy to smuggle a large consignment of drugs, some of which were destined for sale in the United States.

Related: Official Kyiv has no information about Sentsov's exchange for Russians in U.S. prisons

On July 15, 2018 a Russian citizen Maria Butina was detained in Washington on suspicion of trying to influence US policy on the orders of a high-ranking official from the Kremlin. She was officially charged on two counts - in collusion with the purpose of working as a foreign agent and in acting as a foreign agent without proper registration.

As we reported earlier, Oleg Sentsov, Ukrainian political prisoner, announced a hunger strike in May 2018, demanding to release him and the rest of Ukrainian political prisoners illegally kept by the Kremlin. Sentsov has already survived three health crisis; the medics warn that the fourth one, which might involve the breakdown of the body's internal organs, could begin anytime.

Related: Kremlin does not know about plans of Sentsov’s exchange for Russians convicted in U.S.

The native of Crimea, film director, and political activist, Sentsov was illegally detained in Crimea in 2014, then taken to Russia. They judged him and sentenced him to 20 years of imprisonment at a high-security penal colony. The prosecutors charged Sentsov with preparing terrorist acts in occupied Crimea. Sentsov denies his guilt. Ukraine's government, its citizens, and the international society - politicians, artists, public figures - urge the Kremlin to release him.

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