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Kremlin says no one suggested exchanging Ukrainian filmmaker for Russian editor-in-chief

May 29, 2018, 14:24 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Kremlin spokesman reminded that Oleg Sentsov is serving sentence in Russia for involvement in terror attack plotting, "and these are not just charges, this is the court’s verdict"

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Oleg Sentsov

Oleg Sentsov

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

MOSCOW, May 29. /TASS/. No one suggested exchanging Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, charged with terrorism in Russia, for RIA Novosti Ukraine’s Editor-in-Chief Kirill Vyshinsky, charged with treason in Ukraine, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"No one initiated the issue of the exchange, as far as I know. At least, I don’t know anyone launching such initiatives," Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman reminded of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s words that Sentsov was convicted and is serving sentence in Russia for involvement in terror attack plotting, "and these are not just charges, this is the court’s verdict." "As for our citizen who is now charged with treason [in Ukraine] for his professional journalistic activity, we can see quite a different situation here. At the press conference (after negotiations with French President Emmanuel Macron on May 24) President Putin addressed both Macron and reporters, asking to remember cases like this unprecedented pressure on the [Russian] reporter when speaking about cases like Sentsov’s conviction," Peskov added.

The presidential spokesman did not answer the question about who had to initiate talks about the exchange, noting that he has no such information. "And I don’t know whether anyone has had this initiative so far," he added.

On May 15, the Ukrainian Security Service held a massive operation against the staff of RIA Novosti Ukraine which ended with the arrest of the agency’s editor-in-chief, Kirill Vyshinsky. On May 17, he was charged with treason, and after that Kherson City Court arrested him for two months. The journalist may face up to 15 years of imprisonment.

In late August 2015, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, best known for his 2011 film Gamer, was found guilty of terrorism. The North Caucasus district military court in Rostov sentenced him to 20 years behind bars on charges of setting up a terrorist cell in Crimea and plotting terror attacks. In the spring of 2014, the group’s members carried out two terror attacks in Simferopol: they set on fire the offices of Crimea’s Russian Community public organization and a regional office of the United Russia party.

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