“The EPP Group proposed Oleg Sentsov for the Sakharov Prize. We are extremely happy to see him free at last and here in person in the European Parliament. We want to invest all our efforts into necessary reforms and preparations so that Ukraine can become truly democratic and European and meet the essential conditions to become a Member State”, said Sandra Kalniete MEP and Michael Gahler MEP ahead of Oleg Sentsov’s award ceremony. Sentsov was last year’s Sakharov Prize laureate, recently released from Russian prison
“It is a very important day to meet you face to face Oleg Sentsov”, said Sandra Kalniete MEP, EPP Group Vice-Chairwoman responsible for Foreign Affairs. “History is not being written by civil servants, it is being written by those who are capable of standing up and resisting injustice and raising their voice when the majority is afraid to stand up. We admire and respect you, not only for your courage, but also for your endurance. You are victorious. You inspire other people to fight on, not only in Ukraine and in Europe but all over the world. You are able to tell the world the truth”, Kalniete continued.
“Congratulations Oleg Sentsov. Through your peaceful protest, you became the voice of all Ukrainian political prisoners held illegally in Russia. Your call for freedom and justice was also a call to respect the values we all share in the European Union: democracy, human rights, justice and freedom of thought. You also stand for the right cause when supporting the right of your nation to further call itself European and have a European agenda and a European perspective. By awarding you the Sakharov Prize, the European Parliament wanted to make sure that yours and their voices are not forgotten. Let’s now continue this fight together. Our strategic goal is to invest all efforts so that your country meets standards that normally apply to functioning European democracies”, said Michael Gahler MEP, EPP Group Spokesman on Foreign Affairs.
Both Sandra Kalniete and Michael Gahler reiterated the EPP Group’s support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and the non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia. They also ensured that the Group will support the sanctions against Russia until the latter fully implements the Minsk Agreements, meaning inter alia an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of the heavy weapons from the front lines in Eastern Ukraine.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 182 Members from 26 Member States