9 Mar 2022 17:39

About 250 Russian citizens jailed in Ukraine - Russian human rights council member

MOSCOW. March 9 (Interfax) - As many as 248 Russian citizens are currently held in penitentiaries in Ukraine, whereas about 5,000 Ukrainians are in Russian pre-trial detention facilities, penal colonies and jails, Eva Merkachyova, a member of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, told Interfax, citing information of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"The Russian Foreign Ministry has recently responded to human rights activists' enquiry as to how many Russians are behind the bars in Ukraine. According to the response, 248 citizens of the Russian Federation were at penitentiaries o the territory of Ukraine," Merkachyova said.

Of them, 63 were suspects, 19 defendants, and 166 Russians were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment and are serving their sentences at Ukrainian penitentiaries, she said.

"The ministry specified that this statistic refers only to those Russian citizens who do not have Ukrainian citizenship. Otherwise, the local authorities view them exclusively as Ukrainian citizens and do not share information about them with the Russian side. Essentially, no one knows the fate of these people," Merkachyova said.

According to the Interior Ministry, over 5,000 Ukrainians are held at facilities within the Russian penitentiary system, she said.

"Several hundred of them were detained at the request of the Ukrainian side just this year. For example, Ukrainian citizen Leonid Shylo, who was arrested on February 14, 2022, is being held at Moscow pre-trial detention facility No. 4. He has not committed any crimes in Russia, while, according to him, he is being prosecuted in Ukraine for probation violations. He was jailed for a theft and released on parole," she said.

"Shylo and other Ukrainian detainees ask not to be extradited home and even to be released because they have not violated any Russian laws," she said.

"Human rights activists are planning to appeal to the Russian Prosecutor General's Office about this request," Merkachyova said.