On Saturday, October 13, amendments to addendum No. 3 of the law “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2018” came into force which improve the protection of Ukrainians held illegally in Russia and the Russia-occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, as well as on the Crimean peninsula. The text of the document was published by the parliamentary news outlet Voice of Ukraine.
The law stipulates a change to the name of the budget program envisaged for the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons.
In the new edition, it is characterized as “measures to protect and ensure the rights, interests and social rehabilitation of persons deprived of personal freedom by illegal armed groups, the occupation administration and/or the government organs of the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and the Russian Federation in connection with social or political activity”.
The program also envisages support for political prisoners and their family members, including “compensation of expenses related to visiting them, providing such persons and their family members with legal assistance, medical and social services, payment of Levko Lukyanenko state grants”.
The Presidential Administration of Petro Poroshenko noted that the amendments will expand the areas where the budget can be used for the social and medical rehabilitation of Kremlin prisoners who are released, the payment of state grants etc.
In July, First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Iryna Herashchenko announced that she was working with the president to create a coordination council for Ukrainian hostages being held in Russia and in the territories not controlled by Ukraine.
According to the Security Service of Ukraine, more than 100 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are being held in the Donbas. Dozens of Ukrainian citizens are also being held illegally in Russia.