Eight days ago, Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov declared an indefinite hunger strike demanding that all Ukrainian Kremlin’s prisoners in Russia and in the annexed Crimea are liberated. According to his lawyer Dmitry Dinze, he was preparing for a hunger strike. “As Oleg explained, he was preparing for a hunger strike for a month and a half. He refused to accept grocery transfers, purchase any products in the store or withdraw any money from his personal account. He completely switched to prison food. He reduced the amount of this food until May 14, when he began a hunger strike”, – said Dmitry Dinze at the press briefing at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center.
Ukrainian authorities are taking all possible measures to gain access to Oleg Sentsov and to liberate him. Mariana Betsa, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, emphasized that during four years the Ukrainian party has never received a positive response from the Russian party on request to gain access to Oleg Sentsov. “The negotiation process for the release of Oleg and other captives continues. But we cannot deliberately disclose all the details of this process in order not to hurt the very process of liberation,” the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry emphasized.
“This is clearly the last gesture of despair. For four years, I have been telling him everything that was happening around his name, but apparently, nothing has changed for him. He stopped believing in his liberation, and through this hunger strike, he tries to facilitate the release of other political prisoners. It was a calculated decision to start the hunger strike on the eve of the World Cup to make many people all over the world hear about the Ukrainian political prisoners,” said Natalia Kaplan, Oleg’s sister.
“He said he would fast to the end. Accordingly, to the fatal end. Either they will fulfill his demands, or he will die in jail and bring changes to the status quo”, summed up Oleg Sentsov’s lawyer.
Tomorrow, on May 22, at 09:30, a rally in support of Oleg Sentsov will be held near the Presidential Administration. The demands are transparency and prompt action by the Ukrainian authorities in the process of liberating Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia.