Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 15.06.2018
Release Oleg Sentsov and all other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia and Russian-occupied Ukrainian Crimea immediately and unconditionally. So says the European Parliament, overwhelmingly.
Acting in the defence of international human rights, the European Parliament spoiled the party for opening day of the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Timed to coincided with with Putin’s ‘Potemkin Village’ showcase for Russia, the European Parliament rightly shone a spotlight on Russia’s appalling human rights record and on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The European Parliament resolution
hit Russia hard. It called out Russia for the allegations of torture and severe mistreatment of Oleg Sentsov. It noted that he is on a hunger strike since May 14, for the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners of war held by Russia. It pointed out the escalating persecution of the Crimean Tatars by the illegal Russian regime in occupied Ukraine. It called attention to Russia ignoring rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.
In total, the European Parliament resolution mentioned 8 treaties, laws, agreements, and diplomatic accords that Russia has violated. It accused Russia of committing 17 separate crimes against humanity in illegally occupied Crimea and Donbas. It made 29 demands, recommendations, and observations about Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The top priority is freedom for Oleg Sentsov and all other Ukrainian prisoners of war. The European Union “demands that the Russian authorities immediately and unconditionally release Oleg Sentsov and all other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia and on the Crimean peninsula; recalls that currently there are in total more than 70 Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and in occupied Crimea.” The resolution expressed support for the Oleg Sentsov’s hunger strike which began on May 14 and for the hunger strike of Volodymyr Balukh which began on March 19.
Russia is torturing Ukrainian hostages, and this is especially condemned. The European Parliament “Expresses its deep concern that many of the Ukrainian political prisoners, such as Mykola Karpiyuk, Volodymyr Prysych, Oleksiy Chirniy and Yevhen Panov, have been seriously tortured.”
It is illegal for Russia to apply its laws on the territory of Crimea. It is illegal for Russia to strip Oleg Sentsov of his Ukrainian citizenship and treat him as if he was a Russian citizen.
The European Parliament unequivocally (the resolution was adopted by 485 votes to 76, with 66 abstentions) demanded that Russia release Oleg Sentsov and the more that 70 Ukrainian political prisoners. This is the kind of pressure that must be placed on the Russian regime of state terrorism every day that the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia is going on. Oleg Sentsov is starving because it is the only weapon he has to use against Putin. The rest of civilized humanity has a powerful weapon it can use: a boycott of the World Cup in Russia.