The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Ukraine has expressed its categorical protest against the illegal and degrading acts of the Russian Federation in relation to citizens of Ukraine illegally held both on Russian territory and in the occupied part of Ukraine, according to a statement posted on the Ministry’s website.

“Despite many persistent calls of Ukraine and the international community, despite the international obligations, the Russian government and its occupying forces continue to illegally hold in custody at least 29 citizens of Ukraine; in the occupied Crimea, dozens of Ukrainian citizens are harassed, 16 citizens of Ukraine are still missing; 115 Ukrainians are being held hostage in the Donbas,” reads the statement.

The MFA of Ukraine concluded that the capture, prosecution and torture against the Ukrainian citizens have become a common practice in the Russian Federation.

“Cases of Oleg Sentsov, Alexander Kol'chenko, Ilmi Umerov, Ahtem Chiygoz and many others eloquently confirm that the Russian Federation returns to political repression and the judgment of the Stalinist era. At the same time it violates every possible international legal standards in the field of protection of human rights, in particular the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,” says the statement.

The Foreign Ministry stressed that "the recent decision of the Russian occupying power to reject complaints of the defense in the case of the Mejlis Deputy Chairman Ilmi Umerov, as well as his  previous confinement in a psychiatric hospital, are vivid illustrations of this inhumane policy."

According to the statement, Ukrainians understand that only joint and persistent effort of world leaders and a democratic society, for whom the human rights and human dignity are a priority, capable of overcoming the current arbitrariness of the Russian authorities.

The MFA of Ukraine called on the international community to bring all possible legal and political pressure on Russia to stop its totalitarian methods of suppression of human rights and freedom of speech, and to release all Ukrainian political prisoners and hostages.

Photo: UNIAN