Two more workers from Russia's Interenergoservis company have been killed in Iraq, the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told reporters here today.
In his words, the Russians were subjected to an armed attack.
Two Iraqis were killed, as well, Yakovenko added.
Five people, who were injured, are now being treated at a Baghdad hospital, the high-ranking Russian diplomat went on to say.
According to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, unknown bandits attacked a bus carrying Russian specialists early this morning. These specialists are restoring a Baghdad thermal power plant in line with an Interenergoservis contract, Yakovenko told his audience.
In his words, the Russian Federation's Embassy in Baghdad and Iraqi law-enforcement agencies are now investigating all aspects of that incident.
Previously, a car carrying three Interenergoservis workers was fired at May 10 by unknown gunmen in a Baghdad suburb. Russian citizen Andrei Konorev was killed as a result. Two others, namely, Alexander Gordiyenko and Andrei Meshcheryakov, were taken hostage.
The hitherto unknown Army of the Victorious Sect claimed responsibility for the attack.
The hostages were subsequently released May 17.
After that, 109 Russian specialists working in Iraq left Baghdad May 18, subsequently returning to Moscow. Alexander Gordienko went home, as well. Meanwhile Andrei Meshcheryakov and more than 200 other Inteeenergoservis workers preferred to stay on.
Interenergoservis is now fulfilling four contracts worth about $30 million on Iraqi territory. The Iraqi side is reluctant to let the Russians go home because it hopes that all contracts will be fulfilled by summer.
Meanwhile Iraqi authorities assured the Russian side after the hostage-taking incident that all necessary safety precautions will be taken.
Meanwhile experts note that Iraqi insurgents don't care about the nationality of hostages or those being killed by them. Few European civilians are now staying in Iraq.
The Russian Foreign Ministry would like to remind once again after the latest incident that Russian specialists staying in Iraq face serious risks. Alexander Yakovenko's statement, which was received by RIA Novosti May 26, notes that the Russian Foreign Ministry had repeatedly warned all the concerned parties, including top Interenergoservis managers, that the Iraqi situation remained highly unstable because of the inability of coalition authorities to ensure adequate security, and that all those now staying in Iraq faced extremely serious risks.
RIA Novosti has also learned that Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry is ready to send a plane to Iraq several hours from now for the sake of evacuating Interenergoservis specialists. Our aircraft can take off for Iraq by agreement with the Russian Foreign Ministry within the next three hours, if Interenergoservis workers contact us, an Emergency Situations Ministry spokesperson noted.