Russia afraid of those who report truth about occupation of Crimea – US at OSCE.

Russia persecutes independent journalists in Crimea because it is afraid of those who dare to report the ugly truth about Russia's occupation of Crimea, Chargé d'Affaires, a.i. at the U.S. Mission to the OSCE James Donegan has said.

According to an Ukrinform correspondent, he said this at a regular meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.

"Last week, a court in Russia-occupied Crimea extended the detention of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty freelance correspondent Vladyslav Yesypenko by six months. He testified during a closed-door court hearing in April that he had been tortured with electric shocks, beaten, and threatened with death unless he 'confessed.' His only crime is being a journalist. Clearly, Russia is afraid of those who dare to report the ugly truth about Russia's occupation of Crimea," Donegan said.

The U.S. diplomat called on Russia "to cease its harassment of SMM monitors, journalists, and others, and to release all Ukrainian political prisoners it holds." "We further call on Russia to end its occupation of Crimea, to remove all its forces and equipment from eastern Ukraine, and to meet the commitments it made as a signatory to all three Minsk agreements," he said.

Donegan recalled that the United States fully supports Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters. "We do not, nor will we ever, recognize Russia's purported annexation of Crimea. We join our European and other partners in affirming our Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia will remain in place until Russia fully implements its Minsk commitments and returns full control of Crimea to Ukraine," he said.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry earlier expressed its resolute protest against the illegal trial in the temporarily occupied Crimea against Ukrainian citizen Vladyslav Yesypenko, a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty freelance correspondent.

On March 10, Yesypenko was detained in Russia-occupied Crimea. He was charged with making an explosive device.

Lawyer Alexei Ladin said FSB investigators had not found any fingerprints on the explosive allegedly found in Yesypenko's car.

Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova said the indictment against Yesypenko was an example of intimidation of independent journalists in Russia-occupied Crimea.

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