October 1, 2019 / 1:42 PM / 13 days ago

France's Macron meets freed Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks with Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov at the Permanent Representation of France to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, October 1, 2019. Frederick Florin/Pool via REUTERS

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday met Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian filmmaker freed in a prisoner swap last month after four years in a Russian jail.

Sentsov, deemed by some rights groups to be a political prisoner, was among 35 Ukrainian detainees who were swapped on Sept. 7 and returned home in exchange for an equal number of prisoners that Russia wanted to bring home.

A few days after his release, the filmmaker said he planned to make films again and to champion the rights of prisoners in Russian jails.

“Right now, my work is here with you”, he said during a brief joint news conference with Macron in Strasbourg, where the French president was addressing rights body the Council of Europe.

“I have not chosen this work, the work has chosen me,” Sentsov added.

Emmanuel Macron said there were more prisoners left over from the Russia-Ukraine conflict waiting to return home. “We owe them the strength of our commitment towards dialogue and reconciliation on our continent”.

Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Christian Lowe

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