Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov says "no information" is available on whether a Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov is alive or not. The comment comes as a response to UNIAN's question on why the Russian side denied a Ukrainian Ombudsperson contact with Sentsov even via videolink.
"I can't answer why they refused to have a video call. That's because it is required to receive information in the relevant agencies, in the Federal Penitentiary Service, and [Ombudsperson Tatiana] Moskalkova must have such information. He's a prisoner after all, and it's impossible to establish video communication with every prisoner", - Peskov said.
Responding to a direct question on whether Sentsov is still alive, Peskov replied: "I received no information that he had any health issues, so I cannot have such information ar all and I cannot say anything about it".
Commenting on the statement by the Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner, Liudmyla Denysova, that Russia is blocking access to Ukrainian prisoners, despite the agreement reached between the presidents of the two countries, and that Moskalkova has no authority to make such decisions, since she must coordinate all actions with someone in the Russian leadership, Peskov said that it is not about the presidential administration.
"Verification of lists is underway. In addition, as far as we know, ombudspersons [are deciding], how they'll be visiting: simultaneously or not… It's these discussions that are causing the delay", - Peskov claimed.
According to the official, "there were complications with the transfer and because of the weather, conditions, the Ukrainian colleague could not fly out". "This process is not an easy one, but this work is under way", - Peskov assured.
As previously reported, the Commissioner for Human Rights in Ukraine L. Denysova never managed to visit the Ukrainian political prisoner Oleh Sentsov, who is being held in the prison of Labytnangi.
Also, the Russian authorities refused to allow her to visit Mykola Karpiuk, a citizen of Ukraine, at the Vladimir Central Prison.
Oleh Sentsov was born in Simferopol. In 2011, he made his first film, Gamer. The film was presented at the Rotterdam Film Festival. It was awarded with the prize of the Guild of Film Experts and Film Critics at the festival Spirit of Fire in Khanty-Mansiysk. At the 3rd Odessa International Film Festival, Sentsov's movie was awarded a special jury diploma. In May 2012, Gamer received a prize of $1 thousand at the 3rd International Film Festival in Truskavets. In July 2013, Sentsov began filming a new film Rhinoceros about the children of the 1990s.
After the beginning of the Maidan, Sentsov became an activist of Avtomaidan. During the Crimean crisis, he supported the movement for a united Ukraine. May 11, 2014 Sentsov went to protest in Simferopol, later on that day he was detained by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation on suspicion of terrorism.
On May 30, 2014, the FSB announced the detention of Sentsov and three other suspects. According to the FSB, the main purpose of the suspects was the commission of subversive and terrorist acts in Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta.
On August 25, 2015, the North Caucasian District Military Court in Russia sentenced Oleh Sentsov to 20 years in a strict-regime colony on charges of terrorist activities in the territory of Crimea.
On May 14, 2018, the director announced an unlimited hunger strike demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia.
The Ukrainian stated that either he would die, or his demands would be fulfilled. According to the lawyer, he does not demand his own release.
The US Embassy in Ukraine expresses support for the Ukrainian director Oleh Sentsov, who is being held in Russia.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that Ukraine is doing everything to provide pressure on the head of the Russian state Vladimir Putin to continue the process of returning Ukrainian political prisoners illegally held in Russia.
Now more than 60 Ukrainians, including Crimean Tatars, are illegally detained on groundless and politically motivated charges in the Russian Federation and the Crimea. The Russian Federation holds 100 hostages on the territory of Donbass.