15 Jun 2018 13:09

Ukrainian filmmaker Sentsov can't be called forcibly held person - Kremlin

MOSCOW. June 15 (Interfax) - All issues surrounding exchanges of Ukrainian and Russian captives are within the remit of Russian human rights commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova and her Ukrainian counterpart, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said, adding that Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov cannot be referred to as a forcibly held person because he has been convicted of a grave crime.

When asked by reporters why the Ukrainian human rights ombudsman was denied access to Sentsov, who is on hunger strike in the penal colony, Peskov said: "I cannot answer this question because it is my colleague Moskalkova who oversees this issue [captives' swap]."

"She is communicating with her Ukrainian counterpart on this matter," he said.

"As far as Sentsov is concerned, certainly he cannot be referred to as a forcibly held person in any case because he was convicted. Moreover, he was convicted on quite serious charges," Peskov said.

Peskov promised to give more detailed information as soon as he receives an "update" from Moskalkova.

Sentsov, who is serving a sentence in a Russian penitentiary for plotting a terrorist act in Crimea, is holding an indefinite hunger strike, demanding the release of all Ukrainian citizens being held in Russia.