LONDON, August 22. /TASS/. The UK Foreign Office should refrain from its criticism of Russia over the conviction of Oleg Sentsov and Vladimir Balukh, because the crimes they had committed are punishable in the UK as well, the Russian embassy in London said.
The embassy’s statement came in response to Foreign Office Minister of State Alan Duncan’s recent demand to immediately release up to 70 “Ukrainian political prisoners”, including Sentsov and Balukh, who, in his opinion, were jailed for “opposing the illegal annexation of Crimea.”
“The Embassy has taken note of the statement, which fails to reflect the real state of affairs. It should be reminded once again that Oleg Sentsov has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on grave charges of creating a terrorist group and preparing two terrorist acts,” the embassy said. “Balukh has been convicted to three and a half years in prison for illegal possession of arms. These are all criminal offences punishable not only in Russia but under the law of a vast majority of countries, including the United Kingdom.
The Embassy urged the FCO to “stop making ungrounded demands and accusations against Russia on judgments and sentences passed in strict compliance with Russian law.”
In late August 2015, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, best known for his 2011 film Gamer, was found guilty of terrorism in Russia. The North Caucasus District Military Court sentenced him to 20 years behind bars on charges of setting up a terrorist cell in Crimea and plotting terror attacks. In the spring of 2014, the group’s members carried out two terror attacks in Simferopol setting on fire the offices of Crimea’s Russian Community non-governmental organization and a regional office of the United Russia party.
Sentsov went on a hunger strike on May 14 and has since been under medical supervision.
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