By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 22 April 2017:
Chechen leader urges MIsratan delegation to Moscow to help release Russian sailors seized off Libya last month
Ramzan Kadyrov, the controversial leader of Russia’s Chechyna province has revealed he pressed a Misratan delegation visiting Moscow for the urgent release a Russian merchant vessel seized off Libya’s coast last month.
Kadyrov 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 they and their vessel have been taken to Tripoli.
On his Instagram page, Kadyrov said he had received assurances that every step was being taken to free the sailors. However, he revealed that it had not been fully explained why they had been taken.
“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 has reported that the vessel is owned by the MT Group, a St Petersburg-based conglomerate which includes property and marine technology on its web site. It does not mention the operation of any cargo vessels.
Kadyrov accused the United States and its “allies” of provoking Libya’s current “civil war” under “the guise of democracy.” He said the Libyan visitors had updated on the current situation.
The Misratan team was led by Abdulhamid Al-Dubaiba who has long had close links to Russiaa. It also included the city’s military council leader, Ibrahim Ben Rajeb, as well as the Bunyan Marsous-appointed Sirte military governor, Ahmed Abu Shahma, Tripoli defence ministry spokesman Mohamed Al-Ghasri plus Bunyan Marsous commander Mohamed Essa and Yousef Ben Yousef, the former head of Misrata local council.
The mainly Misratan delegation also held talks in Moscow with Russian defence and foreign ministry officials and its parliament.