Ukraine: Director in prisoner swap backs jailed Russians

Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, former Russian prisoner, smiles during his press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. After five years of being locked up in a Russian prison Sentsov was one of the 35 freed Ukrainian prisoners. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

A Ukrainian film director included in a major prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia last week is speaking out for imprisoned Russians

MINSK, Belarus — A Ukrainian film director included in a major prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia last week is speaking out for imprisoned Russians.

Oleg Sentsov was freed after five years in a Russian prison on charges of plotting a terrorist act. He was flown to Kyiv on Saturday with 34 other former prisoners.

Human rights groups alleged the charges were baseless and considered Sentsov a political prisoner.

He said at a news conference on Tuesday that he would advocate for Ukrainians still held in Russian prisons, as well as for Russians jailed for opposing their government.

Ukraine and Russia both released 35 prisoners and fly them to the other country. The swap is seen as an important step to improving ties between Russia and Ukraine.

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