The Ukrainian authorities are ready to collect all convicted fellow citizens serving their prison sentences at Crimean penitentiaries, Ukrainian First Deputy Justice Minister Natalia Sevostyanova said.
"We've been in talks with Russia for two years, trying in every possible way to collect our prisoners. And we were very surprised by the new Russian ombudsman's announcement that they are ready to transfer all Crimean prisoners. I can publicly state today that we are doing everything to collect everyone who is locked up there," Sevostyanova said on the Inter television channel on May 29 evening.
At the same time, Ukraine has yet to receive official documentation on Russia's readiness to hand over Crimean prisoners, but in the past two years it was the opposite: Russia was against such a hand over, she said.
"So now we will react promptly and demand fulfillment of the obligations: we are ready to collect everyone simply, unilaterally and provide them with better conditions than in the Russian Federation," Sevostyanova said.
On May 26 Verkhovna Rada's human rights ombudsman Valeria Lutkovska appealed to her Russian counterpart Tatiana Moskalkova, urging her to begin active actions to transfer convicted Ukrainians from the Russian internal Republic of Crimea.
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