The Head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Refat Chubarov said that the release of 18 Crimean Tatars, held in captivity by the FSB (Russia’s Federal Security Service) in Crimea, is as important as the return of other Ukrainian prisoners from the Russian Federation.

“Now 18 people are held in captivity by occupants and awaiting trial. They are the Crimean Tatars. There are also Crimeans convicted and convoyed to the territory of Russia. The issue of their release and return is equally relevant,” Chubarov said during the round table discussion "The occupied territories: Protection of human rights and prospects for reintegration," according to QHA correspondent.

The Head of the Mejlis noted that Russia uses elements of a psychological impact on the prisoners.

“Russia employs a specific method - They do not consider the proposals on the exchange or release as long as the person is not convicted by a Russian court. This method breaks down the human lives,” said the Mejlis Head.

Chubarov also called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine not to distinguish between the recently convicted Ukrainian political prisoners and those already serving a sentence awarded by the occupation court, since the release of all the Kremlin’s prisoners is equally important.

“I would ask the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Justice not to divide people on the recently convicted and those who have long been kept in captivity by the occupation authorities disinterested in their release,” Chubarov added.