"Yurii Danylovych Soloshenko, our hero, my grandpa, a political prisoner who ended up in the Russian captivity when he was 74, has just passed away. He went through it [captivity] with dignity. We were then released because of the sustained injuries and disease but this still took its toll... The old man has been struggling to his last breath remaining a true Ukrainian – a proud, shy, polite, and indestructible one. I will always remember him saying as we departed from cursed Moscow: "Farewell, filthy Russia!" Let's pray for his soul," Afanasiev said.
Soloshenko, Afanasiev and Poroshenko
Afanasiev and Soloshenko
Soloshenko, Afanasiev, MP Iryna Herashchenko and spokesperson for the Ukrainian president Sviatoslav Tseholko
Soloshenko and Afanasiev
As reported, since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Kremlin has taken several Ukrainian citizens hostages. The exact number of Ukrainian prisoners of the Kremlin is unknown. At the moment, officials say, about 20 Ukrainians are kept political prisoners in Russian jails or pre-trial facilities, including in the territory of occupied Crimea. The story of Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko, who had been kidnapped, tried, sentenced, and released, proved to be the most high-profile case.
Hennadii Afanasiev and Yurii Soloshenko were among those Ukrainians held by the Kremlin. Afanasiev was sentenced in Russia on politically motivated 'case of Sentsov-Kolchenko' to seven years in colony. The case is criminal proceedings against Ukrainian director Oleh Sentsov, sentenced to 20 years in colony for an alleged organization of a terrorist group in occupied Crimea. Afanasiev testified against other defendants but later withdrew his testimony and claimed tortures during interrogations.
Yurii Soloshenko has been sentenced in Russia to six years in colony for espionage. When in prison, he was diagnosed with cancer.
June 14, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko announced liberation of Ukrainians Hennadii Afanasiev and Yurii Soloshenko held in Russia.