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 "I am citizen of Ukraine. I was on Maidan, and it's my greatest deed" - Sentsov in Russian court

The North Caucasus military court in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, proceeded with the trial against Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, accused by Russia of terrorism and creation of a Right Sector (Ukrainian military-political movement - ed.) chapter in Crimea.

During the session, Sentsov called the court illegitimate, Censor.NET reports citing Ukrainska Pravda.

"I am a citizen of Ukraine who was illegally seized by your special services," Sentsov said.

Sentsov says he participated in the events on the Maidan in Kyiv, and returned back to Crimea after it had been occupied by Russia.

"I was on the Maidan, and it's the greatest deed in my life. We rallied against our criminal president," he said.

Read more: Relapsed thief to witness in Sentsov-Kolchenko trial

Sentsov says he was into volunteer work in Crimea.

"Once your country embarked on occupying my motherland, we continued our volunteer work. But I never called for violence. I did help journalists who covered the events in Crimea, as well as interpreters, organized briefings," Sentsov said.

He claims that of all the speakers in the court he knew only Gennadiy Afanasiev and Oleksandr Kolchenko, the latter only by his callsign Tundra, with his real name learnt only during the trial.

"I know only Gennadiy Afanasiev and Oleksandr Kolchenko. The rest I don't know. I understand my explanation will not affect the verdict," said the director.

Read more: Charges against Sentsov and Kolchenko should be dropped - Amnesty International

He stresses they supported Ukrainian military units blocked by Russian special forces.

"I was engaged in searching for abducted Ukrainian activists. Some of them were not found, it is unlikely they are still alive," Sentsov stated.

He says Kolchenko called him May 9 and said Afanasiev had been arrested. Afterwards "Afanasiev called himself with a voice of a sentenced to death."

"Afanasiev wanted to meet with me. I understood the plot, hung up and began to make inquiries about him," Sentsov said.

May 10, Sentsov was kidnapped near home and taken to the former SBU office with a bag over his head.

"I was thrown into a van with a bag on my head and taken to the former SBU office on Ivan Franko Street. They started a tough interrogation asking me about activists who were going to blow up monuments. They were hitting me lying and sitting with their feet, hands and batons. When I refused to speak, they used suffocation. I saw it in movies many times and did not understand how people broke. But it is very scary, your honor. They threatened to rape me with a baton, take out into the woods and bury there. After four hours they got tired and took me for a search. Only there I learnt they were from the FSB. They were expecting to see terrorists and weapons but found only my child - he was present during the search, which is not mentioned in the protocol. The found money is my film company's funds for shooting a movie "Rhino," Sentsov says.

Read more: Charges against Sentsov and Kolchenko should be dropped - Amnesty International

According to Sentsov, Russian secret services offered him to testify against the leaders of the Maidan.

"I was offered to testify against the leaders of the Maidan and get seven years or become a leader myself and get 20," he said.

 
 
 
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