Official representative of Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko confirmed the information on kidnapping 8 employees (3 citizens of Russia and 5 Ukrainians) from Interenergoservis company restoring power stations in Baghdad and some other regions of Iraq. Earlier Al-Jazeera TV Channel reported that 11 Russian citizens had been kidnapped in Iraq.
Later there were reports on 9 kidnapped power company employees, and one was them was allegedly released later.
An Iraqi guard was captured along with the employees, the guard did not resist to the militants.
The incident took place at 7:00 pm on April 12. The working day was over, and the power specialists were standing in the yard of the house they rented – former kindergarten in Dora neighborhood of Baghdad.
Suddenly a bus approached to them, and a group of 15-20 people with guns and wearing masks, encircled the employees and forced them into the bus. Several militants entered the house and captured the 9th employee. They put him into a motor vehicle and followed the bus. On the way the militants learnt that their hostage was from Russia, and they released him.
A source in Russian Foreign Ministry said in an Interfax interview that the “kidnappers whose nationality and religion was not identified so far, released the hostage who complained about being an elderly person and having four children”. The source mentioned that several dozens of the power company employees live in the former kindergarten building. They are restoring the power station in Dora neighborhood, and this neighborhood is known as dangerous, unidentified militants fired at the coalition troops there.
Several Russian companies started evacuating their specialists from Iraq.
According to unofficial information, about 550 Russian specialists are currently working in Iraq. 300 of them are constructing Yusifia power station near Baghdad. The other 200 are constructing power stations in Southern and Central regions of Iraq.
The hostage-takers produced no demands so far, reported Al-Jazeera bureau in Moscow.
Representative of Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko demanded from the militants to release the hostages immediately. “They came to Iraq in the very hard period for this country which has been friendly to Russia, to help Iraqi people to restore their peaceful life. Yet, we have methods to make set free our citizens”.
Mr. Yakovenko said that Russian Embassy cannot count on cooperation with Iraqi law-enforcers. “Iraqi law-enforcement authorities have been paralyzed”.
An intense movement of NATO aircraft was reported at Poland's Rzeszow airfield near the Ukrainian border