Ukraine strongly condemns the unfounded and politically motivated ruling of the Southern Military District Court in Rostov-on-Don (Russia) of 3 March 2021 to convict Ukrainian citizen Oleh Prykhodko on fabricated charges of “preparations for act of terrorism, manufacture and illegal storage of explosives.”

Prykhodko was illegally detained on 10 October 2019 in the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea by the security forces of the Russian occupation administration and, in violation of international law, illegally transferred to the city of Rostov-on-Don in the territory of the Russian Federation.

The “court” sentenced Prykhodko to five years’ penal custody with the first year of a stay in a prison, the conditions in which are the harshest within the Russian penitentiary system, and the rest of his term – in a maximum security penal colony.

“The Russian occupiers in Crimea continue pursuing a systematic repressive policy towards the citizens of Ukraine. The case against Oleh Prykhodko has all the signs of political motivation. Prykhodko’s lawyer repeatedly drew attention of the so-called ‘court’ to numerous procedural violations during the pre-trial investigation, as well as the complete non-acceptance by ‘judges’ of the substantiated evidence of non-involvement of the Ukrainian citizen in the incriminated acts, provided by defence lawyers. Today’s verdict is another manifestation of consistent policy of intimidation of all those who oppose the occupation of Crimea,” commented Emine Dzheppar, the First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine states that the Russian Federation must overturn the illegal “court” ruling and immediately release Prykhodko, as well as all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.

“We call on the international community to condemn Russia’s use of the practice of prosecuting the dissent using illegal force and anti-terrorism legislation, to demand that Russia stop violating international law in the territories of Ukraine it occupies temporarily. We urge to continue active work to protect the rights and freedoms of residents of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol using both national and international mechanisms and to step up pressure on Russia, including sanctions,” reads the Ministry’s statement.

Natalia Tolub

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