The United States expressed concern over the conviction of former Acting Ukrainian Defense Minister Valeriy Ivashchenko and called upon Ukrainian authorities to release him, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said in a statement on Friday.

“With respect to the conviction of former Acting Defense Minister Ivashchenko, we are deeply disappointed in this latest example of selective justice in Ukraine and call for his release, particularly given the state of his health after 18 months in pre-trial detention,” the statement reads.

As a reminder, Ivashchenko has been sentenced to five years of imprisonment, has been deprived of the status of the second rank state official and has been banned from holding administrative and executive positions in institutions and enterprises of all forms of ownership for three years.

Ivashchenko was charged with abuse of office in November 2009. According to the Prosecutor's Office he signed a financial readjustment plan regarding the sale of the integrated property complex of the state-owned Feodosiya Shipbuilding and Mechanical Plant (Crimea).

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