Political Director Asta Skaisgirytė urges Russia to immediately release illegally detained and imprisoned Ukrainian citizens
On 26 February, the Political Director of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Asta Skaisgirytė participated in the Ministerial Panel Discussion on violations of human rights of Ukrainian prisoners of war and political hostages of the Russian Federation, which was organized by Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia, on the margins of the High-Level Segment of the 40th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The Political Director strongly condemned Russia’s on-going aggression against Ukraine, and illegal and politically motivated detentions, as well as imprisonments of Ukrainian citizens. She urged Russia to immediately release Ukrainian servicemen captured during Russia’s aggression in the Kerch Strait in November 2018 and other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens and political prisoners, to ensure their rights, to grant access to the international human rights monitors, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Ukrainian consular officials.
The Ambassador Asta Skaisgirytė welcomed the recent EU internal consensus to introduce additional targeted sanctions against Russia. In addition, she called on the international community to adopt concrete measures to increase pressure upon Russia to implement the United Nations General Assembly resolutions and to fulfil its human rights obligations and commitments.
The event was attended by a large group of diplomats of the member states of the UN and representatives of non-governmental organizations. Other panelists included Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Sergiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Lyudmila Denisova, Ukrainian Ombudswoman, and parents of Ukrainian prisoners of war and political hostages.
Following Russia's aggression at Kerch Strait on 25 November 2018, Russia illegally detained 24 Ukrainian servicemen. More than 70 Ukrainian citizens remain illegally imprisoned on politically motivated charges in the Russian Federation and in the occupied territories of Ukraine. The UN human rights monitoring mechanisms have been denied access to the illegally occupied Crimea and eastern Ukraine.