: Lithuania blacklists 46 for their role in Savchenko abduction and sentencing

10:06 Apr. 13, 2016

Lithuania blacklists 46 for their role in Savchenko abduction and sentencing

A Lithuanian national flag flies outside the Nasdaq OMX Vilnius Stock Exchange in Vilnius, Lithuania, Dec. 16, 2014 (Getty Images)

Lithuania became the first EU state to adopt so-called 'Savchenko list'

Lithuania blacklisted several dozen Russians and Ukrainians for their role in the detention and sentencing of the Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko and two other Ukrainians, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Ukraine adopted so-called ‘Savchenko sanctions list' last month after a Russian court found Ukrainian MP guilty of complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists and sentenced her to 22 years in prison.

Ukraine called on the European Union to follow suit, and Lithuania became the first EU state to do so. The 46 people it blacklisted are banned from entering Lithuania for 10 years.

Those blacklisted include Russian investigators, prosecutors and judges, as well as separatists from the Ukrainian militant strongholds of Luhansk and Donetsk, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told Reuters.

"We blacklisted them to show our solidarity with Ukraine, and to focus attention on the unacceptable and cynical violations of international law and human rights in Russia. We are convinced that the court cases against those people were falsified", Linkevicius told Reuters by phone.

"It would be more effective if the blacklist became Europe-wide. We hope to start such a discussion", he said.

Read also Lithuania respects Dutch vote on E.U.-Ukraine deal, says Grybauskaite

Regarded as a national hero by many in her homeland, Savchenko has been depicted by Russian state TV as a dangerous Ukrainian nationalist with the blood of civilians on her hands. Russia has ignored calls from the European Union and the United States to free her on humanitarian grounds.

Watch also Russia ombudswoman confirms Sentsov and Kolchenko are Ukrainian citizens

Last year, a Russian court sentenced Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov to 20 years in a high-security penal colony for planning "terrorist attacks" in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Moscow from Ukraine in April 2014.

The military court sentenced a second defendant, Crimea activist Oleksandr Kolchenko to 10 years in prison.

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