1 Jun 2018 14:35

Ukraine seeking consular access to Crimean activist Kolchenko, convicted in Russia for terrorism

KYIV. May 31 (Interfax) - The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry demands that Russia provide the Ukrainian consul with access to Ukrainian citizen Oleksandr Kolchenko, who has been convicted in Russia and who went on hunger strike on Thursday.

"Oleksandr Kolchenko has gone on hunger strike. We demand that Russia immediately grant the Ukrainian consul access to him. We demand Kolchenko's release," Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mariana Betsa wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

Russia has refused Ukrainian consuls access to convicted filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and Kolchenko over the course of four years, she wrote.

"We urge our partners to increase the pressure on Russia," Betsa wrote.

It was reported earlier on Thursday that Kolchenko had gone on hunger strike, demanding the release of Sentsov.

Kolchenko is a Crimean activist who was sentenced to ten years in prison in Russia for terrorism. Sentsov is a Ukrainian filmmaker sentenced in Russia to 20 years in prison in the same case.

Sentsov is serving his sentence in a high-security correctional facility known as Bely Medved (Polar Bear) in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District.

On May 16, Sentsov went on hunger strike and demanded the release of all Ukrainian citizens held in Russia.