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Ukrainian Ombudswoman Not Allowed To Meet With Ukrainian Journalist Held In Russia

Ukrainian ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova
Ukrainian ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova

Ukrainian ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova was not allowed to meet with Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko in a Moscow detention center, the Ukrainian parliament's deputy speaker says.

Iryna Herashchenko wrote on Facebook on June 18 that despite a court’s ruling allowing Denisova to see the journalist, she was not allowed to see him and her written request to see Sushchenko had been sent for approval to the Federal Penitentiary Service.

On June 4, the Moscow City Court found Sushchenko guilty of espionage and sentenced him to 12 years in a strict-regime prison. Sushchenko maintains his innocence, saying the case against him is politically motivated.

Last week, Denisova was not allowed to see two other Ukrainian citizens: Oleh Sentsov in a penitentiary in the far-northern Yamalo-Nenets region, and Mykola Karpyuk in a penal colony in the Vladimir region.

Sentsov is a Crimea native who is serving a 20-year prison term in Russia after being convicted on terrorism charges that he and human rights groups say were politically motivated. He started a hunger strike on May 14, demanding the release of 64 Ukrainian citizens he considers political prisoners.

Karpyuk, who also denies any wrongdoing, was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2016 after a court in Russia's Chechnya region found him guilty of fighting alongside Chechen separatists in the 1990s.

On May 15, Russian Ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova said that Denisova's attempt to meet with Sentsov violated "agreements reached previously."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on June 18 that he is not aware of why Denisova was unable to meet with Sentsov.

With reporting by TASS

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