Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has promised Ukrainian political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh, who is on a hunger strike in a Crimean detention center, that he will do everything possible for his release.
This was the President’s reaction to Balukh's letter from the detention center:
"I thank the unconquered Volodymyr Balukh for his letter, and even more so – for his courage. We will continue our struggle for the liberation of all Ukrainian hostages held in the Russian Federation, as well as in the temporarily occupied Donbas and Crimea. We will not stop this fight. I did and will do everything to bring closer the moment when I will be able to shake your hand on the free Ukrainian land," Poroshenko said on his Facebook page.
The Russian FSB detained Balukh on December 8, 2016. Employees of the Russian special services alleged that they found 90 rounds of ammunition and several explosives in the attic of his house. Russian-controlled Court found Balukh guilty of possession of ammunition and sentenced him to 3 years and 5 months in a penal colony, as well as a fine of 10,000 rubles (approximately 4,600 hryvnia).
Balukh’s defenders, as well as human rights activists, are convinced that he is a victim of repression for his pro-Ukrainian position, caused by a Ukrainian flag of that Balukh hung outside his home.
In March 2018, Balukh went on a hunger strike. By the third month of June, he had lost about 30 kg of weight.