After two years of negotiations with Russia, Ukraine is ready to take custody of all Crimean political prisoners serving sentences in Russian prisons. First Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine Natalia Sevostianova made this statement in her interview with the Ukrainian news channel Inter.
"A statement was made by the new ombudsman of the Russian Federation that they are ready to transfer all prisoners. Today I can publicly state that we will do everything to take custody of each and every person imprisoned there,” Sevostianova said.
According to her, the process of repatriating Oleg Sentsov, Alexander Kolchenko, Gennady Afanasiev and other political prisoners has been started. "Now we expect Russia to give the document with the Courts’ decision so that our national Court can adapt its own decision and we will be able to take the prisoners. The Russian judicial system can stretch terms for months and their legislation does not precisely establish them, which is why Russia often takes advantage,” Sevostianova said. However, Russia refuses to return Mustafa Dzhemilev’s son Hayser, although he is a Ukrainian citizen. "But we will demand that Hayser and everybody else will be returned to the territory of Ukraine," assured Sevostianova.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavel Klimkin, said that the exchange of Ukrainian political prisoners for detained serviceman in Ukraine is being negotiated with Russia. Klimkin expressed hope that the next step in negotiations will be the release of Yury Soloshenko and Gennady Afanasiev.