Three Russians and one Ukrainian have been released from captivity in Libya, the head of a controversial Moscow-based political organization said Saturday, drawing attention to the Kremlin’s role in conflict-torn Libya.
The head of Defense of National Values, a Russian organization that is part of a media group linked to sanctioned businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin – made the announcement on Telegram.
Alexander Malkevich said the four individuals had been “kidnapped” several weeks ago, but did not clarify their purpose in the country or specify who they had been detained by.
“Together with Russian diplomats, we channeled all of our efforts and solved this difficult but extremely important task – to return our people home,” Malkevich said.
In conflict-torn Libya, Moscow backs the Libyan National Army (LNA) against the Government of National Accord (GNA).
Prigozhin, 59, nicknamed “Putin’s chef” because his company has done catering for the Kremlin, was sanctioned by the European Union in October for undermining peace in Libya by supporting the Wagner Group private military company which is active there.
Malkevich’s announcement on Saturday comes several weeks after two employees of the Defense for National Values were released by Libya and returned to Russia.
Maxim Shugaley and his interpreter Samir Seifan – both Russian citizens – were accused last year by Libyan authorities of election meddling on behalf of Moscow while they were working with the son of ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.