Imprisoned Ukrainian Director Oleg Sentsov Ends Hunger Strike After 145 Days

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Oleg Sentsov

He went on the strike on May 14, demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia.

Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov, who is serving a 20-year sentence in Russia on a terrorism conviction, has stopped his hunger strike after 145 days.

The news was unveiled Friday morning by Valery Maksimenko, deputy director of Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN).

"Yes, he stopped his hunger strike," Maksimenko was quoted as saying by state-run news agency Interfax. "Moscow's best nutritionists have prepared a special diet for him to come out of the hunger strike."

"Our doctors, our specialists persuaded him, and he chose life," Maksimenko added, referring to prison doctors and those in a hospital in the northern Russian town of Labytnangi, where Sentsov was transferred in late September.

Earlier this week, there were reports that Sentsov's health had severely deteriorated, and he suffered from cardiac insufficiency, as well as liver and kidney diseases.

In August 2015, Sentsov, an opponent of Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's peninsular region of Crimea, was sentenced to 20 years on terrorism charges that many say were unproven.

On May 14, he went on hunger strike, demanding that all Ukrainian political prisoners currently serving their sentences in Russia be released. Russian authorities have ignored his demands.

Many international filmmakers, including British directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, German filmmakers Volker Schlondorff and Wim Wenders, Hollywood star Johnny Depp and French actress Isabelle Huppert, have called for Sentsov's release.