Ukrainian Band Plays Protest Concert Near Annexed Crimea
29 July, 2018

Popular Ukrainian band Boombox played a concert in support of Ukrainian political prisoners on the border with annexed Crimea on July 20. The concert took place at the Kalanchak checkpoint in the Kherson region of Ukraine.

According to Boombox frontman Andriy Khlyvnyuk, the event was part of a film project aimed at “drawing the international community’s attention to the Kremlin’s political prisoners.”

In particular, the crowds of attendees and participants came out in support of Crimean filmmaker and political prisoner Oleg Sentsov, who has been on hunger strike since May 14. Sentsov is currently serving a 20-year sentence in a Siberian penal colony on fabricated charges of terrorism.

READ MORE: Exclusive Video Shows Glimpse Into Sentsov’s Life in Russian Prison

The organizers planned to host the concert without an audience, and therefore did not tell anyone about the event. However, word got out and people from the local area and even annexed Crimea came to the protest concert.

Photo credit: HROMADSKE

Most of the Crimeans who attended the gig brought Ukrainian symbols with them, like flags or vinky (flower wreaths worn by young women). They say that their belongings were not checked at the border, but they still feared that it would happen.

Photo credit: HROMADSKE

“We came to listen, to set foot on this land, where you can raise the Ukrainian flag, because you can’t do that where we are,” says Tetyana from Crimea. She came with her friends and family from Serebrianka in Crimea, home of political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh. The latter recently received an additional sentence for allegedly assaulting the head of the temporary detention facility where he is being held.

READ MORE: Crimean Political Prisoner Sentenced Again on Assault Charges
Tetyana brought a flag that she made for her son in 2014. He attends the Zaxidfest music and arts festival in western Ukraine every year. “My son is constantly being detained on the Russian border without explanation, that’s how it was and still is now. He is not afraid of it anymore, but I’m still afraid,” Tetyana says.

/By Olena Zashko

/Translated by Sofia Fedeczko