SBU welcomes home Ukrainians illegally imprisoned in Russia
On 7 September under the supervision of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi the SBU ensured the safe return home of 35 Ukrainian citizens illegally held in Russia and in the temporarily annexed Crimea.
mong the released are 24 Ukrainian sailors, including two SBU officers, who were detained by Russian FSB in the Kerch Strait in November 2018. Ukrainian political prisoners Oleh Sentsov, Roman Sushchenko, Volodymyr Balukh, Pavlo Hryb and also a seriously ill Crimean Tatar activist Edem Bekirov are also back in Ukraine.
11 political prisoners, civilians
22 Ukrainian naval officers
2 SBU officers
According to the procedure, 35 individuals were turned over to Russia – all of them were convicted or prosecuted for various crimes in Ukraine. They were released in strict compliance with Ukrainian legislation and procedural regulations.
The prisoner swap was overseen by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Since the early days of Russian aggression the SBU was integrated in the process of Ukrainian prisoner release. Starting 2014, 3,280 Ukrainians returned home to their families from Russia and temporarily occupied territories thanks to the SBU.
The SBU effort to release Ukrainian nationals is ongoing, since 227 Ukrainians are still illegally held in the separatist-controlled territories only.
SBU Press Centre
For the Attention of the SBU Head