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Minister of Foreign Affairs

Linas Linkevičius

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A statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania on the exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia

Created: 2019.09.08 / Updated: 2019.09.08 15:03

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes the return of Ukrainian citizens who were illegally captured and detained by Russia. Among the released prisoners is Oleh Sencov, winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2018, Edem Bekirov, a Crimean Tatar activist and other political prisoners, as well as 24 sailors captured during the aggressive actions of Russia in the Strait of Kerch in 2018. We share the joy of the families of those released and wish them a prompt recovery.

At the same time, we note that the ruling of May 25 this year of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on, which ordered Russia to immediately release 24 Ukrainian sailors and three Ukrainian vessels illegally detained in the Kerch Strait, remains unimplemented as sailors became  a part of the exchange.

We urge Russia to unconditionally free other Ukrainian citizens who are illegally detained in the territory of the Russian Federation. We hope that the prisoner swap will not affect the investigation of the tragic disaster of downing Malaysian Air flight MH17 as well as identification and prosecution of perpetrators.

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This statement is delivered on behalf of Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

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