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Political prisoner Andrii Zakhtei leaves Russia after over 6 years in captivity

Wednesday, 14 June 2023, 19:42
Political prisoner Andrii Zakhtei leaves Russia after over 6 years in captivity

Former Ukrainian political prisoner Andrii Zakhtei, who was held captive by the Russians for more than six years, has come back to Ukraine.

Source: Suspilne Crimea; Hraty

Details: After the end of his term in the Simferopol penal colony, Zakhtei spent several months in custody at the Centre for Foreigners in Rostov Oblast, Russia.


Hraty notes that after his release in early February, Zakhtei should have been deported to Ukrainian-controlled territory according to a court ruling, but this was impossible because of the war, and he was placed in custody.

On the evening of 13 June, staff from the Ukrainian embassy in Latvia met him at the Ubylynka border crossing and took him to Ukraine.
Suspilne Crimea posted a video of Zakhtei's meeting with his family. His daughter was 7 months old when he was arrested, and now she is 7 years old.

For reference: Zakhtei spent six and a half years in prison.


  • In August 2016, the Russian FSB announced the detention of a group of so-called "Ukrainian saboteurs" in Russian-annexed Crimea, including Zakhtei, who worked as a taxi driver in Crimea, and Yevhen Panov. The Russian secret services alleged that the "group of saboteurs" were planning to commit terrorist attacks on tourism and social infrastructure facilities on the peninsula. The Ukrainian authorities have denied the Russian accusations against the Ukrainians, calling them a provocation by Russian secret services.
  • In February 2017, the Russian investigators transferred Zakhtei from Moscow's Lefortovo pre-trial detention centre to Crimea.
  • In March 2017, Zakhtei sent an application to the Russian migration service asking for his Russian citizenship to be revoked.
  • In February 2018, the Kremlin-controlled Supreme Court of Crimea sentenced Zakhtei to 6 years and 6 months in a strict-regime prison and fined him 220,000 roubles (about US$2,622).
  • In September 2019, it was reported that Zakhtei had petitioned Russian President Vladimir Putin for clemency after learning that he was not on the list for exchange.

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