The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a draft resolution on June 28 in Strasbourg calling on Russia to release Ukrainian political prisoners, reported the TV channel 112 Ukraine.
Seventy-seven PACE members voted in favor of the corresponding decision, while fifteen abstained. The relevant report was read out loud in the chamber prior to the vote; a debate on the topic was then held following the announcement.
The resolution, which was prepared by the Commission on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, urges Russia to immediately release all Ukrainians detained for political reasons in Russia and in the annexed Crimea; to respect their rights; not to use torture; and not to resort to forced feeding, unless necessary to save lives.
Additionally, the text of the resolution notes in particular that Ukrainian citizens Oleg Sentsov, Volodymyr Balukh and Pavlo Gryb "are consistent with the definition of political prisoners set forth in the resolution of the assembly of 1900 (2012)".
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland earlier filed an official petition with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the pardon of Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov. The Kremlin responded by saying that the Secretary General of the Council of Europe’s letter, “in the view of Russian legislation …is not a basis for any legal action."
Jagland stated that he is still planning to continue work on the release of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia, and sees the exchange of prisoners in particular as one method to de-escalate the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.