Watch Kidnapped Ukrainian Delivering Defiant Court Speech
20 August, 2015

"We know there are Russian troops in Donbas. We have the whole floor in prison here filled with 'rebels'. These are the facts", told Oleh Sentsov in his defiant court statement in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.

Sentsov is a prominent Ukrainian filmmaker whose film The Gamer (2011) earnt him critical acclaim. When Russian soldiers entered Crimea is March 2014, Sentsov, who was born in Simferopol, decided to help and support local activists and Ukrainian soldiers on the peninsula, providing food, medecine. The new Russian authorities arrested Senstov in Simferopol, Crimea on 11 May, 2014, for allegedly being a member of the ‘terrorist group‘, Right Sector, a Ukrainian far-right political party. He was then brought to Moscow and granted Russian citizenship automatically so he could become a subject to Russian laws. Sentsov has been given no chance to consult or contact Ukrainian consulate in Russia.

"Betrayal is a form of cowardice, though big betrayal comes from lesser things. For example, they will put a bag over your head, beat you a little, and after half an hour you're ready to disown your own beliefs, discredit yourself and other people just so they'd stop
beating you. I don't know what your beliefs are worth if you're not ready to come to harm or even die for them", said Oleh Sentsov.

Russian officials used torture and  psychological pressure against Gennady Afanasiev, a main witness in a high-profile case of kidnapped Ukrainians. According to Afanasiev's lawyer Oleksandr Popkov after his client confessed  that his testimony against Oleh Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko was given under pressure.

Russian prosecutors accuse Sentsov of organizing terrorist acts on the Crimean territory, but he stated that he's not going to ask the court for indulgence, as "it's obvious that a court of an occupier cannot be fair".

Sentsov also mentioned Russian propaganda, "It's really good. But I know there are people more clever than you are. And they understand that there are no fascists in Ukraine, Crimea has been taken illegally, and your army is in Donbas".

The internationally recognised Ukrainian territory of Crimea was annexed by Russia in March 2014. Back then Russian masked troops invaded and occupied key Crimean locations, including Ukrainian airports and military bases, following President Putin's orders.

// Video by Anton Naumliuk, RFE/RL. Filmed 08.19.2015.