Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stressed that Ukraine is grateful to Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the efforts to free Ukrainian political prisoners and hostages illegally detained in Russia and in the occupied Ukrainian territories.
"We highly appreciate the assistance of Turkey and the Turkish President in the release of political prisoners. Thank you very much for the release of Akhtem Chyigoz and Ilmi Umerov. We agreed that we will continue to coordinate the process of the release of political prisoners illegally detained in the occupied Crimea and on the territory of the Russian Federation," Petro Poroshenko said during a joint press conference with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following the talks in Istanbul.
The Head of State also noted: "Of course, not only me with Mr. President Erdoğan, but also the whole world is now taking care of the release of Ukrainian hostages". He reminded that during the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Ukraine, the issue of the release of Ukrainians illegally detained in Russian prisons and the occupied territories was also discussed.
The President also said that he would raise this issue during his visits to Finland and France.
"Of course, we will do everything possible and will not lose optimism, so that both Oleg Sentsov, Sushchenko, Balukh and other political prisoners come back home as soon as possible. And international support here plays a decisive role," Petro Poroshenko said.
The Head of State noted that it is very difficult for Russia to explain why people are being jailed only for hoisting the Ukrainian flag on their own house, or why sentences of 20 years imprisonment are declared without explanation of reasons.
"We are uniting our efforts to intensify pressure on Russia and ensure the release of those kept in Russian prisons and in the occupied territory. We will continue our struggle," Petro Poroshenko emphasized.
In turn, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recalled the release of two political prisoners Akhtem Chyigoz and Ilmi Umerov who were released to the Turkish side and then returned to Ukraine.
"This time we got a longer list, which we immediately passed to the Russian side. And I want us to follow this process and be successful in resolving it," the President of Turkey said.