A year on, once-jailed Ukraine filmmaker accepts European Union award

A year on, once-jailed Ukraine filmmaker accepts European Union award

November 26, Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov will be awarded with Sakharov Prize in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Radio Svoboda reports about it.

Sentsov, in his speech to the European Parliament, stressed that he accepts this award not for himself, but for all political prisoners held in Russian Federation.

According to the statement, published on the Kremlin website the two presidents touched upon the situation with the transfer of three Ukrainian ships seized near the Kerch Strait a year ago.

He has been one of the most vocal opponents of Russia's 2014 annexation from Ukraine of his native Crimea region, and staged a 144-day hunger strike to protest the jailing of dozens of Ukrainians in Russian Federation. Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years. Zelenskiy asked Putin to return equipment that he says was stolen by Russian Federation when it seized three Ukrainian naval vessels in November 2018. He spent 145 days on hunger strike in 2018, demanding that Moscow release all of its Ukrainian political prisoners. They don't wish for peace in Donbass or Ukraine.

"Every time, when some of you think about stretching out a hand of friendship to Putin over our heads, you should remember each of the 13,000 killed in Ukraine, the hundreds of our boys kept in prisons, who may be tortured as we speak, the Crimean Tatar, who may at this very moment be arrested", Sentsov told MEPs in Strasbourg.

Next month, French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel will host a summit in Paris to try to advance peacemaking efforts. Though Sentsov was a Ukranian citizen, Russia treated him as a Russian citizen.

Russia, Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula after a controversial referendum.

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