Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 15.08.2018
After floating the fake news story that Oleg Sentsov was being released from the Labytnangi penal colony and flown to Kyiv, Putin tricked Oleg Sentsov’s mother into issuing an appeal for a pardon – which the Russian dictator quickly denied. Putin takes particular pleasure in torturing Oleg Sentsov to death, and making his family, friends and supporters suffer as much as possible while he is doing so.
Russia has no intention of heeding any appeals to release the Ukrainian filmmaker it has been holding hostage for over four years. Oleg Sentsov’s mother, Lyudmyla Sentsova (on photo), personally appealed to Putin to release her son. In a letter of response dated August 3, Putin (or his aides) claimed that an appeal for a pardon must come from Sentsov himself. This is false, as Putin had earlier ‘pardoned’ Nadiya Savchenko, Akhtem Chiygoz, and Ilmi Umerov without any of these Ukrainians applying personally to be released. Putin also claimed that Sentsov is a Russian citizen. This is also false: Oleg Sentsov is a Ukrainian citizen only, he never freely adopted Russian citizenship, and he cannot be forced into Russian citizenship by Putin’s invasion and illegal so-called ‘annexation’ of Crimea.
The only true statement in Putin’s response to Lyudmyla Sentsova is that deciding on a pardon is solely a decision to be taken by Putin himself. Putin fears and hates Oleg Sentsov and what he stands for, which is the pride and independence of the Ukrainian spirit. Out of fear and hatred, Putin is not going to release the Ukrainian filmmaker. Oleg Sentsov’s cousin, Natalia Kaplan, drew this dreary conclusion from Putin’s letter: “Of course, Oleh will not write an appeal for pardon. I'd say that this response indicates that they still don't intend to release Oleh.”
Oleg Sentsov is on hunger strike to free all Ukrainian hostages of the Russian regime of state terrorism. Two other captives of the Russian invaders of Ukraine, Volodymyr Balukh and Oleksandr Shumkov, are also on hunger strike. Their mothers watch helplessly as their sons suffer in their heroic acts of peaceful non-violence against the Russian enemy. 78-year-old Natalia Balukh is herself in poor health and cannot care for the family farm without her son Volodymyr. She fears that she will not live to see her son released. Oleksandr Shumkov’s mother, Lyudmyla Shumkova, says that her son is very thin and cannot cope with the many hearings in his kangaroo court ‘trial.’
Why does Putin hate and fear these men, and torment their mothers? Oleg Sentsov participated in Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity and helped Ukrainian servicemen, who were besieged in their Crimean bases by Russian invasion troops, to receive humanitarian supplies. Volodymyr Balukh flew a Ukrainian flag over his house. Oleksandr Shumkov took part in Ukraine in peaceful protests against Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.
For the offence of loving their homeland Putin holds over 70 Ukrainians hostage. He tortures them in captivity and is deaf to any appeals to have them released. He torments their family, their friends, and their supporters. There is no end to Putin’s hate. There is no end to Putin’s depraved indifference to the dignity and worth of other human beings. Putin will gladly see Oleg Sentsov die, as he will gladly see the Ukrainian nation die. As he tortures his victims to death, Putin uses the natural love and affection of mothers for their sons to cause unimaginable suffering. This is the nature of Putin’s war of annihilation against the Ukrainian people.