Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

Ukrainians Illegally Detained in Russia and in the occupied Crimea

Виставка «Зниклі безвісти та загиблі за період окупації Криму Російською Федерацією» в МЗС України

Exhibition ”The killed and missing during the Russian occupation of Crimea” at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

28 липня 2016 р. в МЗС відбулося відкриття фотовиставки «Зниклі безвісти та загиблі за період окупації Криму Російською Федерацією» за участі заступника Міністра закордонних справ України Сергія Кислиці, членів громадської організації «Кримськотатарський Ресурсний Центр», Народних депутатів Мустафи Джемілєва, Георгія Логвінського, представників іноземного дипкорпусу, бізнес середовища та культурних центрів іноземних держав у Києві.

Виставка триватиме в МЗС протягом липня-серпня, а надалі експонуватиметься в закордонних дипломатичних установах України. Пропонуємо Вашій увазі ознайомитись із змістом цієї фотовиставки в онлайн-режимі.

Photo exhibition "The killed and missing during the Russian occupation of Crimea" was opened at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on July 28, 2016 in presence of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Sergiy Kyslytsya, members of the public organization "Crimean Tatar Resource Centre”, MPs Mustafa Dzhemilev and Georgiy Lohvinskiy, representatives of Diplomatic corps, business community and cultural centers of foreign countries in Kyiv.

The exhibition runs at the Foreign Ministry in July-August and after that will be presented in foreign diplomatic missions of Ukraine. You can have a look at this photo exhibition online here.


Ukrainians Illegally Detained in Russia

Nadiya Savchenko

Ukrainian citizen Nadiya Savchenko on the night of 23rd to 24th June 2014 as a consequence of joint illegal actions by terrorists of the so-called "Lugansk People's Republic" and special services of the Russian Federation, with force and out of her will with flagrant disregard of international law and Ukrainian legislation was abducted from the territory of Ukraine with a bag over her head and delivered to the Voronezh region of the Russian Federation.

Later on June 30th 2014 Savchenko was unlawfully arrested on the territory of the Russian Federation under a charge of committing a "crime". Her imprisonment wasn’t reported to her family members or the Consular Division of the Ukrainian Embassy in the Russian Federation.

By July 16th 2014 Savchenko was left without any communication with the outside world, including the possibility to inform relatives of her whereabouts as well as the Ukrainian consular officer in Moscow and to contact a lawyer or file a complaint. The Ukrainian consul, who was in the city Voronizh from July 9th 2014, only after numerous failed attempts on July 16 was admitted to see Savchenko.

On October 26th 2014 during elections to the Parliament of Ukraine, Savchenko was elected a deputy of the Political Party “Batkivshchyna”. On November 27th Nadiya gained authority of the deputy of Ukraine of the VIII convocation, in December 2014 she was elected as a member of Ukrainian delegation to PACE.

On January 26th 2015 PACE affirmed her mandate as a member of the organization, on January 28th 2015 PACE adopted a resolution which calls on Russian officials to release Savchenko during 24 hour period and provide her with safe return or transfer to another state.

Savchenko’s parliamentary immunity and privileges granted to her according to the Opinion of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs (Committee) of the Council of Europe were repeatedly brought to the Russian Federation via official diplomatic channels. The committee’s conclusion was repeatedly presented by Savchenko’s attorneys during her case court sessions, however the Russian court completely ignored it.

Due to the rough, illegal actions and restriction measures of her freedom based on trumped up accusations which she did not commit, Savchenko held several hunger strikes as the only method to struggle for her rights.

Evidence of her innocence presented by her advocates that prove the falsification of her case are the finding of facts counterfeiting by the Russian side attached to the case papers recordings made in Luhansk suburb and available detailed billing calls and other expert evidence which make it clear that Savchenko was captured before the death of the two Russian journalists. All mentioned above materials were re-presented by her defense during the court sessions considering her case.

On September 22th 2015 Donetsk city court started to review the merits of the case. On March 22, 2016 Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years of prison.

On May 25, 2016 after many months of intensive diplomatic efforts, enormous pressure of the international community on the Russian leadership, Nadiya Savchenko was released and returned back to Ukraine after 709 days of illegal Russian captivity. World leaders, politicians and friends of Ukraine all over the globe welcomed Nadiya Savchenko's release.

Nadiya Savchenko on Facebook:

A joint project of the MFA of Ukraine and Channel 1+1 dedicated to Nadia Savchenko

Profile of Nadiya Savchenko on the PACE website:


Crimean activists Oleg Sentsov, Alexander Kolchenko and others

(From left to right: Oleg Sentsov, Alexander Kolchenko, Oleksiy Chyrniy, Gennadiy Afanasyev)

Oleg Sentsov is a Ukrainian filmmaker, best known for his 2011 film “Gamer”. Sentsov was born in 1976 in Simferopol, Ukraine. He was an Economics student in Kyiv and took courses in film directing and screenwriting in Moscow. His first two short movies were "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" (2008) and "The Horn of a Bull" (2009). "Gamer" debuted at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2012.Its success in this and other festivals helped secure him funding for a forthcoming feature "Rhino", production of which was postponed by his work with the Euromaidan protest movement.

After the November 2013 breakout of the Euromaidan-protests Sentsov became an activist of "AutoMaidan" and during the following 2014 Crimean crisis he helped deliver food and supplies to Ukrainian servicemen blockaded at their Crimean bases. Sentsov has stated that he does not recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea and the "Russian Federation military seizure of the Crimea". Sentsov was arrested on May 11, 2014 in Crimea on suspicion of "plotting terrorist acts". He became one of four Ukrainian (Oleg Sentsov, Gennadiy Afanasyev, Oleksiy Chyrniy, Alexander Kolchenko) citizens being held by Russia's Federal Security Service who accused them of seeking to carry out terrorist attacks on bridges, power lines, and public monuments in the Crimean cities of Simferopol, Yalta, and Sevastopol. These charges are punishable by 20 years in prison. After holding Sentsov without charges for three weeks a statement by Russia's Federal Security Service accused the four Ukrainians of being "part of a terrorist community, to carry out explosions with home-made devices on May 9, 2014 near the Eternal Flame memorial and Lenin monument in Simferopol and to set on fire to the offices of the Russian Community of Crimea public organization and the United Russia party branch in Simferopol on April 14 and April 18, 2014". Sentsov, Afanasyev, Chyrniy and Kolchenko have also been accused of membership in Ukraine's nationalist paramilitary group, Right Sector, a claim that both Sentsov and Right Sector deny. Russian prosecutors have stated that Sentsov has confessed to the terrorist plots. But the filmmaker and his lawyer, Dmitry Dinze, who defended Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, denied this and he and Setsov himself have stated that he was beaten and threatened with rape to force him to confess. Sentsov since May 19, 2014 is being detained in Moscow's Lefortovo prison.

On 17.12.2014 Afanasyev was sentenced to 7 years of prison. On 21.04.2015 Chyrniy got the same term. On 25.08.2015 Sentsov and Kolchenko were sentenced to 20 and 10 years of prison respectively.

On July 31, 2015, speaking at the trial of Kolchenko and Sentsov as a prosecution witness, Afanasyev said that he was rejecting his previous evidence (which became a basis of the charges against Oleg Sentsov, Alexander Kolchenko and himself) because it was given under pressure. According to his lawyer, Gennadiy was beaten with boxing gloves, put on a gas mask closing the air inside or injecting gas into the mask, tortured with electric shocks and threatened to be raped with a soldering iron, deprived of sleep for ten days. This forced him to sign the necessary investigation testimony.

European directors like Agnieszka Holland, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, and Pedro Almodóvar have co-signed a June 10, 2014 letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin calling for Sentsov's release. On June 26, 2014 Russia's presidential council for human rights appealed to Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin to review the circumstances surrounding the arrests of Sentsov and a fellow Ukrainian activist, ecologist and anti-fascist Oleksandr Kolchenko. A reply, posted on the council's website, says prosecutors found "no grounds" for altering the detention of either suspect. Ukrainian authorities are being prevented by their Russian counterparts to contact or help Sentsov, Kolchenko and other activists, as they are considered citizens of Russia (at least in the eyes of Moscow). The European Union and the United States have condemned their detention and have called for their release.

On June 14, 2016 Gennadiy Afanasyev was released and returned back to Ukraine after 767 days of illegal Russian captivity.

Oleg Sentsov on IMDB


Yuri Yatsenko and Bogdan Yarichevsky

23-year-old Yuri Yatsenko is a graduate student of the law faculty at Lviv National University.

24-year-old Bogdan Yarichevsky is a lawyer and holds a diploma with honors from the same university.

Yuri and Bogdan were detained by law enforcement officers of the Russian Federation in the Oboyan Kursk oblast when the hotel in which the young people were staying was raided for a document check.

8 May 2014 – The District Court of the Oboyan Kursk region found them guilty of violating Article 18.8, Part 2 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences (violation of the rules of entry or the stay in the Russian Federation). They admitted their guilt and paid a fine of 2,000 rubles. However, for reasons unknown, a deportation order has not been issued and they remain in custody in the village of Avdeev Kastrychnitski in the Kursk region, in an institution for the detention of foreign nationals and stateless persons who are subject to administrative expulsion or deportation from the territory of the Russian Federation. A month and a half previously, the district court held several meetings regarding the case of the young men. To date, according to their relatives and friends, as well as the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, there exists no legal basis for the detention of Yuri and Bogdan.

According to the testimony of the detained, as well as friends and relatives, the young men were visited during their stay in the institution by "civilian people" who were not officially presented, but who the detained identified as members of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB; successor organization to the KGB). According to testimony from a lawyer, “Bogdan and Yuri underwent long-lasting interrogations. For interviews they were taken to some private room, but several times they were put in the trunk of a car, handcuffed and hooded, and driven in an unknown direction. If those who led the interrogation did not like the answers to the questions, the detainees were beaten, including on sensitive organs. Relatives reported that after an interrogation, Bogdan slit open his veins and Yuri sliced his stomach in an attempt to be sent to the hospital and thus avoid contact with the so-called "competent authorities." At the hospital, the wounds were sutured without anesthetic. The young men wrote allegations of abuse, but the torture only stopped after a protest at the intergovernmental level. Officially, according to Sergei Yatsenko, the Federal Migration Service denies allegations of torture.

The Ombudsman of Ukraine issued a public statement, as well as an appeal to the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Kursk region, Nikolay Efremov, asking for verification of information on the use of torture against the young men and facilitation of their return to Ukraine. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Ukraine in Russia have repeatedly sent notes demanding that Russian colleagues explain the causes of illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Federal Migration Service. Representatives of the Ukrainian embassy also visited the site and met with Yuri Yatsenko and representatives of the Federal Migration Service and the Interior Ministry in the Kursk region.

After being moved to the status of a “suspect” Yuri is being detained in Belgorod jail, the FSB charged him with smuggling narcotics (later these charges have been withdrawn) and illegal possession of explosives (40 grams of gunpowder), Bogdan became a “witness” in the case and was deported back to Ukraine in August 2014. On April 10, 2015 Yuri Yatsenko was sentences to two years of jail. Later, this term was reduced to 9 months. On May 7, 2015, after a year in Russian prison, Yuri came back home to Ukraine.


Mykola Karpyuk

Mykola Karpyuk (born 1964) is a Ukrainian civil activist who has been active in politics since the early 1990s. He played an active part in Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity. He was arrested in Russia on March 21, 2014 under unclear circumstances. Karpyuk’s friends claim he was possibly abducted in Ukraine and illegally transferred to Russian territory.

Mykola Karpyuk is being detained in Chechnya jail and is accused by Russian authorities of taking part in illegal activities during the First Chechen War. Mykola Karpyuk denies this accusation.

The Ukrainian consul has been allowed to meet with Mykola Karpyuk only in October 2015.

In September 2015 the trial against Karpyuk has officially begun.


Stanislav Klykh

Stanislav Klykh (born 1974) was arrested in Russia on August 11, 2014 during a visit to his girlfriend in the city of Orel. After that he was supposedly transferred to prisons in Yessentuki and Pyatigorsk and later to Grozny (Chechnya), being accused by Russian authorities of the participation in the “Right Sector” movement and illegal activities during the First Chechen War.

The Ukrainian consul has been allowed to meet with Stanislav Klykh only in October 2015.

In September 2015 the trial against Klikh has officially begun.


Sergiy Lytvinov

Sergiy Lytvinov (born 1983, farm worker from Kamyshne village, Luhansk region), was arrested on August 22, 2014, accused of fighting in the “Dnipro” volunteer battalion. According to official information from the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, responsible for the “Dnipro” battalion, Sergiy Lytvinov has never been a member. Sergiy himself also denies any involvement.

During the meetings with Ukrainian consuls Sergiy Lytvinov complained about physical and psychological violence and torture employed against him by Russian law enforcement authorities.

Accusation: "armed robbery”. Accusations in military crimes, murder and rapes have been discarded after he spent a year in Russian detention. Lytvinov’s lawyer Viktor Parshutkin was able to prove that the alleged victims and addresses of the supposed crimes did not exist, therefore Russian Investigative committee refused from these accusations, but in parallel trumped up a new case accusing Lytvinov in robbery.

Sergiy Lytvinov is being detained in the 5th remand prison in Moscow. He is facing a 12-year imprisonment.


Valentyn Vyhivsky

Arrested in Simferopol on September 18, 2014, transferred to Moscow and accused of collecting classified information. The Ukrainian consul has been allowed to meet with Valentyn Vyhivsky only in May 2015.


Yuriy Soloshenko

The ex-director of the Ukrainian national enterprise “Znamya” was arrested in Moscow on August 5, 2014, accused of espionage. The Ukrainian consul has been allowed to meet with Yuriy Soloshenko only in May 2015. On October 14, 2015 Yuriy Soloshenko was sentenced to 6 years of prison.

On June 14, 2016 Yuriy Soloshenko was released and returned back to Ukraine.


Olexandr Kostenko, 29 y.o.

Euromaidan activist from Crimea

Convicted by the “court” in the occupied Crimea to 4 years in prison "for throwing a stone" in a riot police officer in Kyiv during Maidan events allegedly "for reasons of ideological hatred and hostility towards the law enforcement representatives".

Transferred from Crimea to penal colony in Russia (Kirovo-Chepetsk), Kostenko case is a dangerous precedent when Russian Federation judges Ukrainian citizen for crimes allegedly conducted on the territory of Ukraine.


Crimean Prisoners

Ukrainian citizens in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea, mostly Crimean Tatars, who were arrested and imprisoned by Russian occupational authorities for their political views, not recognizing the annexation of Crimea by Russia.


1. The “26th of February” case

On February 26, 2014, in front of the Verkhovna Rada – the Supreme Council – of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, a mass meeting for the unity of Ukraine was held by pro Ukrainian activists. In one of the counter-demonstrations that occurred near the building at the same time were members of pro Russian organisations, who asked to be part of the Russian Federation. As a result of the police’s inefficient actions to ensure this peaceful meeting’s security, a fight in which 30 people were injured occurred. In fact, some of them got head traumas, some others suffered blunt abdominal injuries and so on. Six people were hospitalized, three of them in critical condition, and the three others in average condition.

Charges: article 212 §1 subparagraph 2 of the criminal code of the Russian Federation, “riot”, liable to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Detention facility: Simferopol pre-trial detention centre.


Akhtem Chiyhoz (born in 1964): Crimean Tatar, vice-president of “Medzhlis’ of Crimean Tatars”

Date of arrest: January 29, 2015

Deputy Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Akhtem Chiyhoz, who became the acting head of Medjlis after the entrance to Crimea was banned for Refat Chubarov in July 2014, was arrested by Russian occupation authorities on January 29, 2015 being accused of organizing the mass unrests in Simferopol on February 26, 2014. In fact, the protest action in Simferopol was peaceful; Refat Chubarov and Akhtem Chiyhoz as leaders of Medjlis made huge efforts to successfully avoid the clashes between the pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian protesters. Human rights activists and members of Medjlis regard the arrest of Akhtem Chiyhoz as a political leverage of Russian occupation authorities on the Medjlis of the Crimean Tatar People, which does not recognize the annexation of Crimea by Russia. 


Ali Asanov (born in 1982): Crimean Tatar from Urozhayne.

Date of arrest: April 16, 2015


Mustafa Dehermendzhy (born in 1989) : Crimean Tatar

Date of arrest: May 7, 2015


2. Ilchenko case

Iuriy Ilchenko (born in 1978): holder of the private school for foreign languages

In an article he published on his website, Iuriy harshly opposed Russian occupation in Crimea and the war in the Donbas.

Date of arrest: July 2, 2015

Charges: article 282 of the criminal code of Russian Federation “incitement of Hatred and Enmity”, liable to 20 years’ imprisonment.

Detention facility: Simferopol pre-trial detention centre.


3. The “Hizb ut-Tahrir” case

In Ukraine, Hizb ut-Tahrir is a political Islamic movement organizing religious, political and educational campaigns. Hizb ut-Tahrir members are not related to any terrorist action. Thus, Russia is the only country considering Hizb ut-Tahrir al Islami as a terrorist origanization, and where being one of its members is liable to prosecution.

Charges: article 205.5.1 of the Criminal code of the Russian Federation, “Establishment of a terrorist organization” and article 205.5.2 “participation in its activities”, liable to 20 years’ imprisonment.

Detention facility: Simferopol pre-trial detention centre.


Ruslan Zaytullaev (born in 1984) : Crimean Tatar

Date of arrest: January 23, 2015


Nuri Primov (born in 1976) : Crimean Tatar

Date of arrest: January 23, 2015


Rustam Vaytov (born in 1985) : Crimean Tatar

Date of arrest: January 23, 2015


Ferat Sayfullaev: Crimean Tatar

Date of arrest: April 2, 2015


#LetMyPeopleGo: initiative of Ukrainian and international human rights activists for Ukrainians illegally detained in Russia

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