MOSCOW, March 4 - RAPSI. A third of the circa 27,000 foreigners serving sentences in Russian prisons were convicted for drug-related crimes, Sergei Yesipov, department head at the Federal Penitentiary Service, told RIA Novosti.

"Every third foreigner in a Russian prison was convicted for drug trafficking. Overall, foreigners commit all manner of crimes in Russia, from hooliganism and fraud, to robbery, mugging and murder," Yesipov said.

The official noted that the number of foreigners in Russian jails has remained approximately the same for the past three years - around 27,000 of the total 587,000 prisoners.

About half of foreign convicts are nationals of Central Asian countries. There are also criminals from Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Georgia and the post-Soviet Baltic countries.

"Around 350 foreign prisoners are from 40 other countries, including China, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cameroon and Mongolia," Yesipov said.