The Ukrainian Justice Ministry has sent a request to the Russian counterparts asking them to transfer four Ukrainians convicted by Russian courts to Ukraine under the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko has said.
"The Justice Ministry of Ukraine appeals to the Justice Ministry of the Russian Federation with a request to hand over four of our citizens to the territory of Ukraine... We do not recognize the justness of verdicts against them," he said at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in Kyiv on Thursday.
After that, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said that they were talking about Ukrainian citizens Oleh Sentsov, Hennadiy Afanasyev, Oleksandr Kolchenko and Yuriy Soloshenko.
Yatseniuk also instructed the Foreign Ministry to involve international partners into this matter.
Read also: Ukraine demands release of Sentsov, Kolchenko, other political prisoners
The justice minister noted that at present the health condition of the four Ukrainian convicts who were transferred to Russian penal colonies is rather grave.
"The Russian sentences have already entered into force and the Ukrainian political prisoners are already in colonies... Their health conditions are grave, there is a real threat to lives of some of them. Afanasyev has blood poisoning, they are not provided proper medical care," Petrenko stressed.
On August 25, 2015, the North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don issued a guilty verdict against Sentsov. The film director was sentenced to a cumulative term of 20 years in a high-security prison.
The second defendant in the case, Kolchenko, was sentenced to ten years in a high-security prison.
On December 25, 2014, the Moscow City Court found Afanasyev guilty of a terrorist attack and sentenced him to seven years in a high-security penal colony.
In mid-October 2015, the Moscow City Court found Yuriy Soloshenko, former director of the Ukrainian plant Znamya, guilty of espionage for Ukraine and sentenced him to six years in a high-security penal colony.