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Chechen leader calls on Libya to free Russian sailors

Image of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on 14 December 2014 [Wikipedia]
Image of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov on 14 December 2014 [Wikipedia]

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has urged the visiting Misratan delegation to Moscow to help release Russian sailors seized off the Libyan coast last month.

Kadyrov, the controversial leader of Russia’s Chechen province, described the reasons for the Russian sailors’ seizure as “far-fetched”.

The seven crew members of the Merle were arrested off Zawia on 5 March by the Libyan coastguard and were taken to Tripoli.

Read: Chechen troops ‘maintain peace’ in Syria

On his Instagram page, which the leader uses regularly to speak of his work and the state’s affairs to his 2.6 million followers, Kadyrov said he had received assurances that every step was being taken to free the sailors.

However, he revealed that the reason why the sailors were arrested has not been explained. “We are actively engaged in the fate of the sailors and will not rest until they can return home,” Kadyrov added.

Russian news agency TASS previously reported that the vessel was owned by a St Petersburg-based conglomerate which includes property and marine technology on its website.

The Misratan delegation held talks in Moscow with Russian defence and foreign ministry officials and its parliament. It was led by Abdulhamid Al-Dubaiba who has had close links to Russia, and also included the city’s military council leader, Ibrahim Ben Rajeb, the Bunyan Marsous-appointed Sirte military governor, Ahmed Abu Shahma and Tripoli defence ministry spokesman Mohamed Al-Ghasri.

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