Vice Speaker of Ukrainian Parliament: Sentsov will not ask Putin for pardon

Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov, who has been convicted by Russia of "terrorism," will not ask Russian President Vladimir Putin for clemency which will allow him to be exchanged for Russian prisoners in Ukraine, wrote First Vice Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Iryna Herashchenko on her personal Facebook page.

“Putin's Press Secretary [Dmitry] Peskov states that [Oleg] Sentsov ‘must take care of his pardon himself,’ hinting that Oleg should have appealed to the Russian president with such a request. Obviously, Sentsov will not turn to Putin, and the Russian authorities count on this,” she wrote.

Herashchenko noted that relatives of deceased Russian journalists formally appealed to Putin to pardon Nadezhda Savchenko, and he pardoned her without an appeal from Savchenko herself.
"Why shouldn’t Peskov himself, or the Ombudsman Moskalkova, turn to Putin to request a pardon for Sentsov? Why could Nadezhda be pardoned without a personal appeal, and Oleg cannot?” the first Vice-Speaker asked.

Herashchenko also expressed outrage at the breakdown of agreements on a visit by Ukrainian Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmila Denisova to Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia.

“Lyudmila will not be allowed to [visit] Sentsov, Kolchenko, Sushchenko, Karpyuk, and other prisoners of ours, despite agreements at the highest level. To understand, it is in this way that the release of hostages has been broken off several times. When everyone discussed and agreed, they seemed to have decided on the list and the approximate date. And at the last minute – [there is] no [action], and without explanation,” she added.

Savchenko was captured by pro-Russian LPR militants in June 2014 in the Luhansk region; she was then taken to Russia, where she was sentenced to 22 years in prison. On May 25, 2016, Putin pardoned Savchenko and exchanged her for Russian soldiers Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Erofeev.

In August 2015, the Russian court found Sentsov guilty of "creating a terroristic community." The director was sentenced to 20 years in a maximum-security prison. On May 14, Sentsov announced an indefinite hunger strike demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia.

Despite all the agreements reached, Russia has not allowed Denisova, who has been in the Russian Federation since June 15, to visit with the prisoner for a few days.

  Oleg Sentsov, Putin, political prisoners, Ukraine, Russia