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Ukrainian Filmmaker Jailed In Russia Urges Supporters Not To Fight For Release

Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov
Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov

Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who is behind bars in Russia, has called on Ukrainians not to fight for his release "at any price, as it would not bring the victory nearer."

In a letter obtained by RFE/RL on August 22, Sentsov wrote that the only thing he and others Ukraine considers political prisoners jailed in Russia can do for their homeland is "to hold on."

"Be aware that we are not your weak point. If our destiny is to become nails in the lid of the tyrant's coffin, then yes, I would like to be such a nail. Just remember, that nail will never bend," wrote Sentsov, whose case has become a cause celebre in Ukraine.

Crimea’s Russia-backed authorities convicted Sentsov of conspiring to commit terrorism on the annexed Ukrainian peninsula.

Sentsov, who has said he was unfairly prosecuted by what he called the “occupiers” of Crimea, was sentenced to a 20-year sentence last August following a trial that Amnesty International described as “fatally flawed.”