The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin sent letters to his colleagues from different countries, asking them to exert pressure on Russia to release all Ukrainian political prisoners.
The Minister stressed the extreme importance of freeing Volodymyr Balukh, Oleg Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko, who all announced that they would go on hunger strike.
"I sent letters to fellow ministers around the world and asked them to apply pressure on Russia and demand everyone’s release. It is imperative for the Kremlin to free Balukh, Sentsov and Kolchenko, who went on a hunger strike," he wrote on Twitter.
The head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called for a unified international response to “the crimes of Russia”, including the strengthening of sanctions.
On May 14, the Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov who had been sentenced in Russia announced a hunger strike, demanding the release of all Ukrainians held in Russia and the annexed Crimea. He said that he intends to continue until he dies or until the 64 political prisoners are released.
On May 24 and May 31, Oleksandr Shumkov and Oleksandr Kolchenko also went on hunger strike in solidarity with Sentsov. Shumkov is a Ukrainian military serviceman jailed in Russia.
The pro-Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh continues his hunger strike in the Crimea, which he announced on March 19. On August 4, 2017, Crimean courts sentenced him to 3 years and 7 months imprisonment in the ordinary regime penitentiary.