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Russian diplomats evacuated from Libya arrive in Moscow

October 04, 2013, 14:30 UTC+3

Russian ambassador to Libya Ivan Molotkov also returned by this flight

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Photo EMERCOM Press Service

Photo EMERCOM Press Service

MOSCOW, October 4 (Itar-Tass) - Russian diplomats and members of their families evacuated from Libya to Tunis after Wednesday’s armed attack by unidentified gunmen on the Russian embassy in Tripoli have arrived in Moscow.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry’s plane with 51 people onboard that left Tunisia’s Djerba early on Friday landed at 10:37 in Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport, Emergencies Ministry spokeswoman Irina Rossius told Itar-Tass.

Russian ambassador to Libya Ivan Molotkov also returned by this flight.

“Aggressive actions against our diplomatic mission were indirectly caused by Russian citizen Yekaterina Ustyzhanova’s killing a Libyan officer and wounding his mother with knife on October 1,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said adding that a criminal case was instituted against her. “The accident provoked relatives and friends of the killed Libyan man to revenge his death with an attack on the Russian diplomatic mission. The gunmen managed to break through the territory of the embassy, while diplomats and their families were shielded in safe rooms.”

“Until all the issues pertaining to the secure operations of our mission in Tripoli are settled, a group of Russian diplomats from among the senior workers of the embassy in Libya will stay in Tunis so as to maintain contracts with the Libyan officials in Tripoli,” Lukashevich said.

Evacuation doesn't mean diplomatic relations are stopped

The evacuation of the Russian Embassy staff from Libya does not prove that diplomatic relations are being stopped, Russian Ambassador to Libya Ivan Molotkov said.

“We’ve decided to leave Libya and return to Moscow for security reasons. Libya has urged us to do this,” Molotkov told journalists upon his return to Moscow.

After the Russian Embassy in Tripoli was attacked a total of 52 diplomats and their families were evacuated to Tunisia. Earlier in the day, they returned to Moscow by an Emergency Situations Ministry aircraft.

Molotkov said several Russian diplomats stayed in Tunisia in a safe area in order to maintain working contacts with Libya.

Commenting on versions of the attack, the ambassador said all versions were being checked. “The circumstances are being specified,” he said.

One of the versions implied that the embassy had been attacked by relatives of a Libyan who was killed by a Russian woman. “They broke into the territory of the embassy and destroyed all found on their way,” Molotkov said.

At the same time, he noted that the Libyan authorities had arrived rather quickly and did their best to ensure security.

Initially Russians waited for the attack to be repeated. “But nothing followed. This will be a one-time action. No incidents should be in the future,” the Russian ambassador said, adding, “The incident won’t have impact either on the embassy or relations between both countries.”

For his part, deputy director of the Emergency Situations Ministry’s Department for International Affairs Alexander Tomashov said the evacuation was successful.

A total of 52 people (15 women and five children with them) have been evacuated, he said.

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