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Moscow looking for solutions to send convicted Ukrainians to their home country — official

July 13, 15:49 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, July 13. /TASS/. Russia is working on a mechanism to transfer the convicted Ukrainian citizens serving their sentences in Crimea, Russia’s and Ukraine’s human rights ombudspersons will meet when a solution is found, Russia’s human rights commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova told reporters on Wednesday.

"We have changed the format for the time being," she said. "We have taken some practical steps to implement our agreements."

Moskalkova added that Ukrainian ombudsperson Valeria Lutkovskaya got in touch with Ukraine’s State Penitentiary Service at her request. "I have a reply from the head of Ukraine’s State Penitentiary Service that they are ready to accept the convicts. Russia is too developing a legal mechanism for the transfer of convicted persons," Moskalkova said.

She explained that "a court ruling or an extradition act or some other extraordinary decision is required" to release convicts from prison. "So far, none of these is available, and work on this is in progress. When it is over, I will meet with Lutkovskaya," she said.

According to Moskalkova, "the Ukrainian side does not confirm the possibility of this transfer under the existing Convention, because it believes there is a certain political implication here." "For us it would be legally right to transfer them under this convention, but, if the other side is does not think it is possible to use this mechanism, we will look for another one," she added.

Spokesman for Verkhovna Rada’s human rights commissioner Mikhail Chaplyga earlier said that Ukraine and Russia are preparing an additional memorandum on transferring the Ukrainian citizens convicted by Ukrainian courts in Crimea to Kiev. He said that this document is to be signed by the two countries' ombudspersons - Valeria Lutkovskaya and Tatyana Moskalkova. Chaplyga added that the Russian side is coordinating the issue with Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service and other agencies.

He also said preparations are underway for a new meeting between the two ombudspersons. Lutkovskaya and Moskalkova met on June 21 in Minsk. They agreed on the transfer of Ukrainian prisoners serving their sentences in Simferopol to Ukraine. They also exchanged the lists of prisoners talking about 18 persons.

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