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Ukrainian Prisoner Goes Free In Crimea

A banner with the inscription "Free Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia." (file photo)

A Ukrainian whom Kyiv considered a political prisoner was released early from incarceration in Russian-annexed Crimea on August 6, the office of the Ukrainian presidential mission in Crimea said.

Oleksandr Steshenko is on his way to Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, said Ihor Kotelyanets, head of the Relatives of Kremlin Political Prisoners Association.

He was sentenced to two years in prison on August 22 on what Ukrainian human rights groups and officials said were trumped-up charges of "inciting ethnic tension" and being part of an "extremist group."

He was detained while crossing into Crimea on April 11, 2018.

Ukrainian officials deemed Steshenko one of 64 political prisoners who are being held in Russia or annexed Crimea.

Thirty-six are Crimean-Tatar and 54 of the prisoners were either arrested in Crimea, incarcerated on the peninsula, or taken from there.