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On 16 January 2018, Volodymyr Balukh, known to have opposed the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation, was sentenced to three years and seven months in a penal colony by a court in the peninsula, whose jurisdiction the EU does not recognise.
On the other hand, Crimean Tatar activist Bekir Dehermendzhy was detained on 23 November last year in Simferopol on dubious charges. In view of the critical medical condition he suffers, it is essential that he is immediately granted access to appropriate medical care.
International human rights observers must be granted full, free and unhindered access to the peninsula, and the European Union expects all illegally-detained Ukrainian citizens in the illegally-annexed Crimean peninsula and in Russia to be released as swiftly as possible.
The European Union remains committed to fully implementing its policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.