Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on March 25, 2016 reported that Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council has approved targeted sanctions against 54 individuals involved in the prosecutions of Ukrainian citizens Nadia Savchenko and Oleh Sentsov. Excerpts below:
The council posted a statement saying that the list includes “individuals responsible for abductions, illegal detentions, torture, the falsification of evidence, and the organization and pronouncement of legally void sentences.”
Savchenko, a military pilot, was sentenced on March 22 to 22 years in a Russian prison after being convicted of involvement in the deaths of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine in 2014. She denies the charges and says she was abducted in Ukraine and illegally brought to Russia.
Filmmaker Sentsov, a native of Crimea, was arrested in May 2014 on terrorism charges and later sentenced to 10 years in prison. He denies the charges and says they are retaliation for his vocal criticism of Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.
Comment: These sanctions are welcome as illegal Russian activities continue against Ukraine. Further support of Ukraine is needed. The United States should as soon as possible deliver defensive weapons to improve Ukraine’s military strength.