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'Now I'm A Soldier': Ukrainian Filmmaker Sentsov Registers For Military Service

Oleh Sentsov delivers his speech during the award ceremony for the Sakharov Prize at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on November 26.
Oleh Sentsov delivers his speech during the award ceremony for the Sakharov Prize at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on November 26.

Ukrainian filmmaker and former Kremlin political prisoner Oleh Sentsov has registered for military service.

In a Facebook post on December 10, the 43-year-old Sentsov posted a picture of a military identification card that says he is an army reservist.

“Since I’m a resident of Kyiv, I went and registered for military service. Now, I’m an army reservist,” he said. “The military registration and enlistment offices are obviously dingy-looking, but the people inside are really nice. The same with our country: The people are nice, but they are unable to build a normal state.”

Sentsov until September 7 had been serving a 20-year prison sentence on what international, Russian, and Ukrainian rights groups said were trumped-up charges of “plotting terrorist acts” against Russia in Crimea, Ukraine’s peninsula that Moscow forcibly annexed in early 2014.

He had opposed and refused to recognize Moscow’s imposed rule on the Ukrainian territory.

Sentsov was incarcerated for more than five years and spent 145 days on hunger strike in 2018, demanding that Russia release all Ukrainian political prisoners.

He received last year’s Sakharov Prize For Freedom Of Thought on November 26 from the European Parliament.

During his acceptance speech, Sentsov urged European lawmakers not to forget the Ukrainians' sacrifices in the ongoing conflict with Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

"Every time, when some of you think about stretching out a hand of friendship to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin over our heads, you should remember each of 13,000 [people] killed in Ukraine, the hundreds of our boys kept in prisons, who may be tortured as we speak, the Crimean Tatars, who may at this very moment be arrested," he said.

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