The 4 men were detained by the Russian authorities for expressing opposition to the illegal annexation of Crimea, and given lengthy jail sentences following trials which appeared to fall well short of international standards. These cases, including over 70 others against Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, underline the Russian Federation’s systematic persecution of those who voice their opposition to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said:
We are deeply concerned about the welfare of the four Ukrainian nationals held by Russia, who are on hunger strike in protest against Russia’s continued detention of Ukrainian political prisoners. Their imprisonment, and that of many more Ukrainians who have been jailed by Russia, appears politically motivated. We call on the Russian authorities to release them immediately.
Russia’s control over Crimea remains illegal and illegitimate, and is a flagrant violation of a number of Russia’s international commitments.
The 4 Ukrainian nationals who are on hunger strike while being detained by the Russian authorities are:
- Oleg Sentsov
- Oleksandr Kolchenko
- Oleksandr Shumkov
- Volodymyr Balukh