Activist Says Agents Searched Her Home In Crimea, Accused Her Of 'Terrorist Ties'

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine -- Security officials in Russia-annexed Crimea have searched the home of a local Ukrainian activist on suspicion of having ties to “terrorist organizations” in Ukraine.

The activist, Olha Pavlenko, told RFE/RL on August 29 that agents from the Federal Security Service confiscated her mobile phone, flash-memory cards, and notebooks that contained poems.

Pavlenko, a member of the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Crimea, said the search of her home in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol, lasted three hours.

"After my lawyer arrived, I allowed [the FSB officers] to enter and they showed me a warrant saying that I am suspected of having ties with terrorist organizations based in Ukraine proper," Pavlenko said.

She added that she was ordered to go to the Investigative Committee for questioning and that she will discuss with her lawyers when to report.

There was no confirmation of the search by authorities.

The Ukrainian Culture Center in Crimea is a group promoting Ukrainian culture and language in the region. Its activists have been under pressure since Russia annexed the peninsula in 2014.

One of the center's leaders, Leonid Kuzmin, fled Crimea in 2017 after he received threats from unknown people and was pressured by police.

Russia has prosecuted and imprisoned several Ukrainians on what rights activists say are trumped up, politically motivated charges since Moscow seized the Black Sea region.

In March 2017, the European Parliament called on Russia to free more than 30 Ukrainian citizens who were in prison or subject to other conditions of restricted freedom in Russia, Crimea, and parts of eastern Ukraine that are controlled by Russia-backed separatists.

Russia seized Crimea after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was pushed from power by massive street protests in February 2014.

Russia also fomented fighting in eastern Ukraine, where more than 10,300 people have been killed since April 2014.