Ukraine urged Russia on Sunday to allow foreign doctors to visit film director Oleg Sentsov, who has gone on hunger strike in a Russian prison, as fears mount for his health.
The 41-year-old launched his protest on May 14, demanding that Moscow release all its Ukrainian political prisoners as Russia prepares to host the 2018 World Cup later this month.
“We have appealed to the Russian Federation with the request to admit Ukrainian and foreign doctors to Ukrainian political prisoners,” Ulana Suprun, Ukraine’s acting minister of health wrote on Twitter, using the hashtag “#FreeSentsov.”
Suprun added a copy of her letter to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova which said the visits should be allowed “to assess their state of health.”
Sentsov, a pro-Ukrainian activist and documentary director, was detained in Crimea in 2014 after Russia annexed the peninsula on accusations of masterminding arson attacks.
Sentsov denied the allegations but was found guilty on terrorism charges, and is serving a 20-year sentence in Russia’s far north.
Russian politician and media star Ksenia Sobchak said on Friday she spoke to Sentsov via a video call.
“He is very pale, very thin,” Sobchak said, adding that he had begun to lose his teeth.
On Monday, Russia’s prison service said Sentsov agreed to “receive supportive therapy,” without providing further details. It described hiscondition as “satisfactory.”