Security Service of Ukraine reported that the separatists released two Ukrainian prisoners

Vitaliy Rudenko, acting judge of the Luhansk Court of Appeals, was released from captivity by separatists, announced the press service of the Security Service of Ukrain. According to the SBU, Rudenko was returned to Ukrainian-controlled territory the day before with the assistance of the Patriot volunteer group.

"For nine months he was illegally detained and subjected to torture by the LPR (Lunahsk People’s Republic) MGB. The leadership of the SBU informed the President of Ukraine about the judge’s release," the SBU noted.

According to Rudenko, he was detained by separatists on October 15, 2016 while crossing the Stanitsia Luhanska checkpoint. "I was placed at the temporary detention center of the LPR MGB where I stayed for 9 months. At first I was held in solitary confinement for 46 days, after which I was transferred to a general cell," he said.

Rudenko added that, for 12 days after the detention, none of the separatists’ representatives talked to him or explained the reasons for the detention.

"On the 13th day the operational officers of the LPR MGB started to work with me. They charged that I, as an active judge, made decisions in certain criminal cases concerning separatism against [the interests of] the ‘citizens of the LPR.’ A case was opened against me under Article 335 of the Criminal Code of LPR on suspicion of treason. The charges were presented and the preventive measure in the form of detention was chosen," Rudenko said.

"Another hostage of the separatists returned home: Lyudmila Surzhenko. Despite the fact that Lyudmila has been an invalid from childhood, she was accused by the LPR MGB of espionage in favor of the Ukrainian military and she was tortured," the SBU reported.

The Security Service said that Judge Rudenko and Surzhenko were included in the Minsk lists, and that Ukraine had been struggling to free them from the moment they were illegally imprisoned.

On July 29, Oleh Kotenko, the coordinator of Patriot, the group campaigning for the release of prisoners of war, said that two people who were detained by separatists along with Ukrainian journalist Stanislav Aseyev were released. They are now on territory under the control of Ukraine.

The First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Iryna Herashchenko, said that the issue of Surzhenko was raised by Ukraine at the last meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk and that the torture of Surzhenko would be the subject of "hard talk during a Skype conference regarding hostages at the Minsk humanitarian subgroup”.

  Ukraine, Donbas, hostages, LPR, SBU