Foreign Ministry calls on Russia to immediately release Yesypenko and other Ukrainian citizens.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly condemns the illegal trial of Ukrainian citizen, RFE/RL freelance correspondent Vladyslav Yesypenko in the temporarily occupied Crimea.

"The charges brought against the Ukrainian citizen in the Simferopol District Court of the Russian occupation administration on July 15 are completely unfounded. We consider the rigged trial of Vladyslav Yesypenko a continuation of the Russian Federation's reprisals against those who disagree with the temporary occupation of the Crimean peninsula and the systematic suppression of freedom of speech," reads the comment issued by the Foreign Ministry on Friday, July 16.

The Ministry stated that Russia must immediately release Yesypenko and all Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Crimea and Russia.

Ukrainian diplomats called on international partners to step up political and diplomatic pressure on Russia, including sanctions, to force it to end gross human rights abuses in Crimea.

As reported, Vladyslav Yesypenko, a freelance journalist of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Crimea. Realities project), covered social and ecological topics. He was detained by the Russian FSB in Crimea on March 10, 2021, on charges of gathering information “in the interests of the secret services of Ukraine” and storing a “self-made explosive device”.

The FSB claims that it detained Yesypenko “to prevent him from carrying out subversive actions in the interests of Ukrainian special services.”

In turn, the lawyer said that investigators, following the fingerprint analysis, did not find Yesypenko’s prints on the explosive allegedly found in his car.

On March 12, Yesypenko was taken into custody. On April 1, the so-called “Kyivsky District Court of Simferopol” extended his arrest until July 11. Lawyers were not allowed to see the detained journalist for 27 days. Yesypenko later said that he had been tortured by Russian security officers.

On July 6, a “district court” in the temporarily occupied Simferopol extended Yesypenko's arrest for another six months.

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