The Open Dialogue Foundation received a reply to the inquiry regarding the case of Sentsov, Kolchenko and Afanasiyev from the Office of the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation.
Russian authorities have recognised the Crimean activists as citizens of Russia. According to the agreement between the Republic of Crimea and Russia, inhabitants of the peninsula who have not filed an appropriate statement within a specified period, shall be recognised as citizens of Russia. Only Chirniy has duly filed a statement, and therefore, according to the Russian government, he is entitled to receive assistance from the consul of Ukraine. In light of the logic used by the Russian authorities, recognising them as citizens of the Russian Federation (even against their will) allows the state to divest them of Ukraine’s legal aid.
Previously (in November), O. Sentsov, O. Chirniy, G. Afanasiev and O. Kolchenko were listed as citizens of Ukraine in the response of the office of the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation to the letters from the Open Dialogue Foundation, member of the Polish Sejm, A. Lewandowski and Ukrainian MP O. Brykhynets. It was probably by mistake that officials used the phrase ‘Ukrainian citizens’, instead of applying the interpretation imposed by the Kremlin.