“Putin’s Hostages” were shown in London: in the British parliament and a movie theater

“Putin’s Hostages,” a documentary film about the Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin, was on 11 March shown in the London movie theater Vue Cinema (Shepherd’s Bush) and on 12 March – in the House of Representatives of the UK Parliament. The screenings were accompanied by a discussion with filmmaker Piotr Malinowski, producer Alya Shandra, human rights activist Maria Tomak, and lawyer Nikolai Polozov, who had defended Ukrainian political prisoners Nadiya Savchenko, Ilmi Umerov, Akhtem Chiygoz, and Khayser Dzhemilev, and now coordinates the work of a team of lawyers defending the 24 Ukrainian Navy sailor POWs whom Russia captured in the Black Sea in November 2018.

Notably, the movie theater screening was the first public screening of the film. As well, “Putin’s Hostages” became the first documentary about the Russo-Ukrainian war to be screened in the UK Parliament.

Among those present at the screening in Parliament were MPs from both Houses of Parliament, the former UK Secretary of Defence Sir Michael Fellon, journalists, experts, and those who were not indifferent. The screening was organized by the Henry-Jackson Society together with the British-Ukrainian Society. Apart from the delegation of human rights activists, filmmakers, and lawyers, Dr. Andrew Foxall from the Henry-Jackson Society, and Member of Parliament, Chair of Group of friends of Ukraine Rt Hon John Whittingdale took part in the discussion.

The topics discussed concerned the phenomenon of Russia’s Ukrainian hostages, which include not only the political prisoners of the Kremlin but also the hostages held in the warzone of Donbas and, most recently the 24 Ukrainian Navy sailor POWs, and possible paths to liberate them. Particularly, the Ukrainian delegation noted that there is still no international platform dedicated to freeing the hostages, and sanctions against Russian officials guilty of taking the hostages could be adopted together with the Magnitsky act sanctions or its variant at the EU level – the EU global human rights act – which is now being discussed inside the EU.

The documentary “Putin’s Hostages: Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin” was created by Polish filmmakers Bozydar Pajak and Piotr Malinowski for Euromaidan Press. It was financially supported by the Embassy of the UK to Ukraine. With the help of stories of three Ukrainian political prisoners – Yevhen Panov, Pavlo Hryb, and Bekir Dehermendzy – the film tells about the phenomenon of over 70 Ukrainian political prisoners of the Kremlin. We are grateful to the Embassy of Ukraine to the UK for organizing this trip.