In 2016, Ukrainian citizens Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klykh were sentenced to 22.5 and 20 years imprisonment respectively by the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic. According to the verdict, both fought against the Russian troops in 1995 in the "Viking" battalion consisting of Ukrainian volunteers. Since 2015, Russia claims that former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk also fought with them.
The trial was held in conditions which preclude any possibility to consider it a fair one. Karpyuk and Klykh deny their involvement and insist that they were brutally tortured in order to extort false confessions and false evidence against Yatsenyuk, who seems to be the main target of this political set-up.
We express deep concern about the situation of Mykola Karpuk and Stanislav Klykh. We believe that their detention in the Russian Federation is politically motivated. We urge the Russian authorities to review the verdict against Karpuk and Klykh, and to release them immediately. We also urge the Council of Europe and the leaders of European countries to consider the case of Karpjuk and Klykh as an integral part of the broader conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, and to demand their release as a necessary condition for a settlement.