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Russia to continue efforts to have arrested Donetsk governor released as soon as possible

April 27, 2014, 17:28 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, April 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia will continues efforts to have arrested people’s governor of Donetsk Pavel Gubarev released the soonest possible, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

Switzerland’s presidency in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has informed the Russia side that their representative had met with arrested people’s governor of Donetsk Pavel Gubarev on April 26, the ministry said. “According to the Swiss side, the hunger strike the Donetsk people’s governor is on is obviously telling on his health. Lawyers have access to Gubarev.”

“The Russia side will continue its efforts to have Pavel Gubarev released the soonest possible,” the ministry stressed.

Demonstrators in a square in the centre of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on March 1 proclaimed Pavel Gubarev people’s governor. The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) promptly opened a criminal case against him on the suspicion of calls for changing Ukraine’s borders. He was detained on March 6 and now is being kept in Kiev’s pre-trial detention centre.

On Thursday, April 24, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow had sent official letters to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) requesting immediate access to Gubarev. “We will push for immediate access to Gubarev to make sure that he has no problems with health,” Lavrov said. “We will of course continue efforts aimed at ensuring his immediate release as a political prisoner.” On April 26, the ICRC, the OSCE and the Kiev authorities agreed on a visit to Gubarev.

On the same day, the Russian foreign minister had a telephone conversation with Swiss Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson in Office Didier Burkhalter to draw his attention to politically-motivated arrests of public activists in the Ukraine’s southeastern regions. Lavrov urged Burkhalter to press for their speediest release.

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