Former Kremlin Prisoners Visit Latvia, Express Gratitude for Support
The Ukrainians that were held by Russia met with the Speaker of the Latvian Parliament
Photos from Ukrinform – UATV
Latvia will continue to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and will continue its rehabilitation programs for Ukrainian prisoners of the Kremlin, Saeima Speaker Inara Murniece has said.
She said this at a meeting with nine former political prisoners of the Kremlin, according to a Ukrinform correspondent.
“Latvia regards Ukraine as its friend and ally. You can always count on our support. It is a great honor for us to welcome in parliament patriotic and heroic people who are not afraid of upholding the values of their homeland – Ukraine,” Murniece said, honoring the Ukrainian people for their strength and courage in defending their country.
According to her, Latvia will continue to implement rehabilitation programs for Ukrainians.
The speaker also stressed that Latvia had always included Ukraine on the international agenda.
The former political prisoners of the Kremlin thanked Murniece for support and assistance to Ukraine. In particular, Edem Bekirov mentioned the relevant legislative initiatives of the Latvian parliament on the 75th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars and the recognition of the genocide of their people. He presented a four-volume book on the history of the Crimean Tatar people and the flag of Crimean Tatars. Oleksiy Syzonovych and Pavlo Hryb handed over to the Saeima the state flag of Ukraine, booklets with information on political prisoners and films about Kremlin prisoners.
Roman Sushchenko thanked Latvia for its principled position and solidarity with Ukraine on such international platforms as PACE in the Baltic Plus group, Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8), Eastern Partnership, the EU, OSCE, NATO and the UN.
He called for increased international efforts to release other Ukrainian citizens from Russian prisons. Other former political prisoners – Oleg Sentsov, Stanislav Klykh, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Artur Panov and Yevhen Panov – supported him. Sushchenko presented Murniece a reproduction of his drawing “Lisbon,” which he created in the Lefortovo prison in 2017.
The former Ukrainian prisoners are also scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics and the Ukrainian community of Latvia.
On September 7, 2019, Ukraine and Russia exchanged detainees in the “35 for 35” format. Eleven Ukrainian political prisoners, including Sentsov, as well as 24 sailors captured by Russia near the Kerch Strait in November 2018, returned home.
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