August 10, 2018 / 1:21 PM / 10 days ago

Macron says he discussed hunger striker Sentsov with Putin

PARIS/MOSCOW (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone to Russia’s Vladimir Putin about the case of a Ukrainian filmmaker who is on hunger strike in Russian jail, Macron’s office said on Friday.

A participant attends a rally demanding the release of film director Oleg Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia, at the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Sentsov, 42, was arrested in Crimea after the Ukrainian territory was seized by Russian forces and annexed in 2014. He was jailed for 20 years on terrorism charges which he says are politically motivated, and has been on hunger strike since May to highlight Russia’s human rights record.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during the last cabinet meeting before the government goes on holidays at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France August 3, 2018. Michel Euler/Pool via Reuters

“The President of the Republic conveyed to President Putin his concerns, given that the health of Mr Sentsov seems to have worsened dangerously, and the importance that Russia urgently finds a humanitarian solution to the situation,” a statement from Macron’s Elysee Palace said.

“President Putin committed to respond and to quickly publish information on Mr Sentsov’s health,” it said.

A statement published by the Kremlin after the conversation did not mention Sentsov, but Interfax later quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as confirming that the subject was discussed, without providing any more details.

The Kremlin had said on Thursday it had received a letter from the mother of Sentsov asking Putin to pardon her son. Sentsov’s health is rapidly declining, his lawyer and a relative said.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris and Polina Ivanova in Moscow; Writing by Ingrid Melander

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