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 Savchenko establishes international committee on release of Ukrainian political prisoners held by Russia

Batkivshchyna faction MP Nadiia Savchenko initiates creation of a committee for liberation of Ukrainian political prisoners held in the Russian Federation.

The lawmaker announced at a round table held in the PACE in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Censor.NET reports citing Interfax-Ukraine.

"I am establishing a committee dealing with the liberation of Ukrainian political prisoners from the Russian Federation. I propose the world's politicians to join this committee," she said adding that the committee would operate on a voluntary basis.

According to Savchenko, soldiers can be called neither sinless nor murderers.

"In any war, a soldier defending his homeland is forced to kill the same way as he can be fired at and killed. It is absolutely dishonest to move this into the category of a crime. All cases filed against Ukrainians were forged by these Russian kangaroo courts," the MP stressed.

Watch more: "Putin wanted to demonstrate his supremacy by pardoning me and other Ukrainians," - Savchenko's first speech in PACE. VIDEO

"I hope that it (Russia - Ed.) has already came to its senses and the Kremlin has realized its mistake and is going to return all the Ukrainians back to Ukraine after all," she added.

As reported, since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Kremlin has captured several Ukrainian citizens hostage. The exact number of Ukrainian prisoners of the Kremlin is not known. 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, is the most well-known case.

Hennadii Afanasiev and Yurii Soloshenko are among Ukrainian political prisoners still held by the Kremlin. Afanasiev was sentenced in Russia on politically motivated 'case of Sentsov-Kolchenko' to seven years in colony. The case is a criminal proceeding 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 announced 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.

Read more: Several formulas of hostages exchange, including two-for-two and 25-for-50, currently discussed, - adviser to SBU chairman

After Nadiia Savchenko was released from captivity, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced of agreements to return Afanasiev and Soloshenko to Ukraine. He then said it could happen in June. It became known later that political prisoners Afanasiev and Soloshenko filed petitions for mercy to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

June 14, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko announced liberation of Ukrainians Hennadii Afanasiev and Yurii Soloshenko held in Russia.
 
 
 
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