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Russian sailors captured off Benin’s coast released

The kidnapped crewmembers of Tommi Ritscher container ship included three Russians, according to earlier data

TASS, May 25. Eight sailors, including Russians citizens, who were captured off the Beninese coast have been released in neighboring Nigeria, head of the operation to save sailors, admiral Oladele Daji said Monday.

"We are hoping to ask them questions, but it is too early now, at least one of them is too weak," Agence France-Presse quoted him as saying.

On April 19, pirates captured crewmembers of Tommi Ritscher container ship in the Gulf of Guinea off Benin’s coast. Beninese Navy vessels came to the ship’s rescue and chased away speed boats with the pirates’ accomplices, cutting them off the coast. A few hours later, the Nigerian Navy along with special police forces managed to free 11 crewmembers of the container ship. However, some captives — a group of eight people, including three Russians — remained in the pirates’ hands.

Earlier, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba announced that a Ukrainian citizen had been released from captivity, not saying anything about the other captives.

Following negotiations with the Beninese authorities, the pirates left the vessel along with the captives and exited Benin’s territorial waters. Recently, the Nigerian Navy launched an operation to save the sailors, whose details are not revealed yet.