Ukraine asks Russia to release more than 60 political prisoners

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has asked Russia to release more than 60 Ukrainian political prisoners, official Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Mariana Betsa said on Twitter.

“At least 24 Ukrainians who were convicted for political reasons are imprisoned in Russia, and more than 40 in Russian-annexed Crimea. We once again demand that Russia release the prisoners,” Betsa tweeted.

Earlier in April Iryna Herashchenko, First Deputy Chairwoman of the Verkhovna Rada and President’s Humanitarian Envoy on the situation in the Donbas, said that Russia has not responded to Ukraine’s initiative to exchange 23 Russians convicted in Ukraine for political reasons for Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russian prisons.

The Foreign Ministry’s demand coincided with the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions, which is traditionally observed on the third Sunday of May. This year Ukraine is also commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Great Terror: in the period between 1937 and 1938, historians estimate that 198,918 people were convicted in the USSR. Roughly two thirds were sentenced to execution, the rest were sent to prisons and camps.

  political prisoners, Russia, Ukraine