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Libya releases 2 Russians detained on spying charges

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 03: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY - MANDATORY CREDIT - "RUSSIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, makes a statement during a weekly press briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, in Moscow, Russia on December 3, 2020. ( RUSSIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY - Anadolu Agency )
Spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, makes a statement during a weekly press briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, in Moscow, Russia on December 3, 2020. [RUSSIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY - Anadolu Agency]

Two Russians, detained in Libya on espionage charges in 2019, were released on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Zakharova said the Russian side is "satisfied" with the decision of the Libyan authorites to free Maxim Shugaley and Samer Hasan Ali Sueyfan, and thanked everyone who assisted in their release.

According to media reports, Shugaley and Sueyfan have already left Libya, and they are expected to arrive in Moscow tonight.

They were arrested in Tripoli in May 2019 on espionage charges.

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The Russian government had argued that these people were academic researchers affiliated with a think tank.

But the Libyan government announced that the two Russian citizens were intelligence agents who were conducting field research associated with the Wagner private military company.

The Libyan security service found a memory stick, confirming Shugaley and Sueyfan were conspiring with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi on taking power in the county.

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