MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia handed over twelve Ukrainian nationals, who had been sentenced to prison terms in Crimea before the region's reunification with Russia, to Ukrainian facilities for further penal service, officials said on Friday.
"On March 17, the Federal Penitentiary Service routinely handed over 12 convicted Ukrainian citizens to Ukrainian law enforcement agencies for further service of sentence," the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service said, adding that the hand over took place at a check-point in Belgorod Region of Russia.
Crimea became part of Russia after the referendum held on March 16, 2014. Almost 97 percent of Crimeans and 95.6 percent of Sevastopol’s voters cast ballots in favor of joining Russia. Ukraine still considers Crimea an occupied territory.
A number of Ukrainian citizens who were convicted by Ukrainian court before the referendum remained in Crimean penitentiary facilities after the reunification. Earlier in March, Ukrainian Deputy Justice Minister Sergiy Petukhov said that Ukraine and Russia have agreed upon the handover of 12 convicts that were serving sentences in Crimea.