The negotiations with Russia on the transfer of Ukrainian citizens sentenced in Crimea are nearing completion, First Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine Natalia Sevastyanova stated in her televised interview with 5TV channel on Friday.
"The negotiations are at their final stage," she said.
Sevastyanova went on to say that the Ministry of Justice is using a legal mechanism to return Ukrainian prisoners, including Stanislav Klyh and Nikolai Karpyuk, to their home, by directing requests for their extradition to Ukraine. However, the political and legal mechanisms of pardon are more effective.
"The Ministry of Justice has the only instrument to return our prisoners illegally condemned in Russia - when there is a judgment and a prisoner's consent to return to homeland to serve the sentence ... This is a long time procedure, because the Russian Federation does not specify the time limits and may delay the process at its own discretion," she stated.
The First Deputy Minister stressed that the Ukrainian government, protecting the interests of the convicted in Russia Ukrainian citizens, sends requests to Russian for their extradition under the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This means the simultaneous processes of pardoning prisoners in both countries and their extradition to homeland.
Earlier, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that the negotiation process on release of Ukrainians held in captivity in the occupied territory of Donbas nears completion.
May 25, a Ukrainian pilot and MP Nadezhda Savchenko was exchanged on Russian military Eugene Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov. Illegally detained in Russia for almost two years, the Ukrainian pilot returned home. A few days later, another two political prisoners Yury Soloshenko and Gennady Afanasiev were returned to Ukraine as well.