Ukraine calls on Austrian media to raise Sentsov issue during Putin's visit

The Ukrainian Embassy in Austria has appealed to local media to "raise the issue" of political prisoner Crimean Oleg Sentsov ahead of the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Austria Oleksandr Scherba wrote on Facebook.

"Numerous cinematographers from around the world, including Agnieszka Holland, Krzysztof Zanussi, Johnny Depp and Alexander Sokurov called on Vladimir Putin to release Oleg Sentsov. The Austrian Film Academy also joined the collective letter of European cinematographers. The Sentsov case is a good opportunity for Austria to prove itself to be a real political mediator and a humanistic European state ready to stand up for one’s life. Putin's visit to Vienna scheduled for June 5 would probably provide such an opportunity," he wrote.

Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov continues an indefinite hunger strike in a Russian prison, demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners from Russia's prisons. On May 31, he stated that he was "not interested in the exchange," because he is "a man who goes to the end."

Activists in Ukraine and around the world continue to demand from Russia and President Vladimir Putin the release of illegally detained Ukrainians. The actions are held in different countries and on different continents under the slogans #FreeOlegSentsov and #SaveOlegSentsov.

Sentsov and Crimean Oleksandr Kolchenko were detained by representatives of Russian special services in the Crimea in May 2014 on charges of organizing terrorist attacks on the peninsula. In August 2015, the North Caucasian District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Sentsov to 20 years in a strict-security penitentiary on charges of terrorist activities on the territory of the Crimea. Kolchenko received 10 years in prison. Both refused to admit being guilty of the charges.

The Human Rights Center Memorial added Sentsov and Kolchenko to their list of political prisoners.

  Oleg Sentsov, Putin, Austria, political prisoners