President of Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelenskyy praises the return to Ukraine of two citizens detained in Iraq for three years

9 December 2020 - 14:45

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy praises the return to the homeland of Ukrainian citizens Yevhen Fomenkov and Oleksandr Sanpiter who have been captured and detained in Iraq since July 2017.

The return of Ukrainians was made possible by the joint and consistent work of the Office of the President, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies. The Head of State personally coordinated the process of releasing our citizens.

"Welcome home, Oleksandr and Yevhen. Congratulations to the families - they will finally be able to celebrate Christmas together. I want every Ukrainian to know that we remember everyone who is illegally detained in other countries. And we do our best to get them back home as soon as possible. The Ukrainian state will fight for every citizen, for every person in trouble. Proof of this is the return of our sailors and political prisoners and other Ukrainians who were detained abroad. For me, a person is the highest value, we will always fight for our people," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

The President thanked all government officials who joined the process of releasing Yevhen Fomenkov and Oleksandr Sanpiter.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba congratulated relatives and friends of the returned Ukrainians.

"I want to assure everyone once again: the Ukrainian state will never leave its citizen in the lurch. This principle is inviolable. No matter what the problem is and what part of the world a person is in. This is one of the basic principles of President Zelenskyy's policy. This is one of the key tasks I set for all Ukrainian diplomats," the Minister of Foreign Affairs said.

Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Liudmyla Denisova noted that the return of Ukrainians to their homeland had been preceded by significant systemic work.

"This is a huge struggle, first of all, of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Office of the President, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and consular services in each country," she said.

Liudmyla Denisova stressed that the return of Ukrainians had taken place on the eve of International Human Rights Day.

"This is a reminder to all our citizens in captivity in any country, including in Russian captivity and in the occupied parts of Ukraine - Donetsk, Luhansk regions and Crimea, and to their families that the return is possible and will definitely take place. And that's why we are waiting for everyone at home," she said.

Halyna Tretyakova, MP and chair of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Social Policy and Protection of Veterans' Rights, added that since the beginning of Volodymyr Zelenskyy's presidential term, the basic principle in public policy has been the following: the Ukrainian state always helps citizens illegally detained in other countries. Evidence of this is the release of National Guard Vitalii Markiv, who was unjustly convicted in Italy, and the unprecedented operation to return home Ukrainians who were stuck in other countries after the cancellation of flights during the spring lockdown.

"Ukrainians have a state that takes care of those who found themselves in trouble in other territories. This state policy will continue to be one of our main principles. This is what makes Ukraine a part of civilized countries," Halyna Tretyakova summed up.