Two Russian citizens who had been held by Libya's Government of National Accord for more than 1 1/2 years on spying charges were released from captivity on Thursday, officials in Russia said.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said in remarks carried by the Interfax news agency that the men were on the way back home.
Bogdanov added that “it took a lot of efforts” to win the release of the two Russian citizens and thanked the Libyan authorities for their help. He said the two men were feeling fine.
Maxim Shugalei and Samir Seifan were detained in May 2019 by the government in Tripoli on charges of espionage. They were working for a foundation allegedly linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Kremlin-connected businessman whose assets reportedly include private security contractor Wagner Group that has been active in Libya.
Authorities in the Tripoli government have charged that the Wagner Group has deployed hundreds of fighters to back commander Khalifa Haftar, whose forces have been fighting the Tripoli government. Russian officials have refused to comment on the firm's activities in Libya.