Following is the text of a statement on “Ongoing Violations of International Law and Defiance of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation in Ukraine,” as delivered by Ambassador James S. Gilmore III on January 16 in Vienna to the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
We welcomed the news of the December 29 prisoner exchange, which included the return of captives from Russia-controlled Donbas, as agreed at the December 9 Normandy format summit. In particular, we were relieved to see the release of Stanislav Aseyev and Oleh Halaziuk, two contributors to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty whose names we have mentioned frequently here at the Permanent Council. They were imprisoned for years in retaliation for their reporting about everyday life in the territories controlled by Russia-led forces. However, there remain several hundred Ukrainians detained by Russia and its proxies in eastern Ukraine, and many more Ukrainian political prisoners held in Crimea and Russia. We call for their immediate release.