Джордж Кент. Фото: «Укрінформ»
The situation of political prisoners, including journalists, in occupied Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, is a very sensitive issue.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Charge d'Affaires in Ukraine George Kent said this in an interview with Radio Liberty Krym Realii platform.
"It’s a very sensitive issue not only for the Radio Liberty staff. I recently met with Mr. Yesypenko's sister, with Mr. Aseyev, a Radio Liberty employee who had been held captive by militants in Donetsk for two years. We also have a difficult situation in Belarus. Ihar Losik, also an employee of Radio Liberty, has been in prison for more than a year," Kent said.
He stressed that the situation of journalists in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (CADLR), in Crimea, and in Belarus was terrible.
"Now there are more than 100 [political prisoners] in Crimea, almost 200 in Donbas, and almost 600 in Belarus. There are more political prisoners in Donbas, Crimea, and Belarus this year than there were when I started working for the U.S. Department of State more than 30 years ago. The situation is very sad. As we struggled with this problem 30 years ago, so it is our main task now. This is a very sensitive issue," the U.S. Chargé d'Affaires added.
Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested Ukrainian journalist Vladislav Yesypenko in occupied Crimea ahead of the seventh anniversary of Moscow's forcible annexation of the region on March 18, 2021.