The Russian Foreign Ministry identified those kidnapped as V. Gorelov and Abdesattar Hassun of Russia and Mario Belluomo of Italy. The three work for the Hmisho private steel company, Sergey Markov, press attaché of the Russian Embassy in Damascus, told the Voice of Russia on Tuesday. According to him, the company has received a telephone demand from unidentified individuals for payment as a condition for the abductees’ release.
"The three men were abducted as they were travelling along the Tartus-Homs highway on Monday. Right now, steps are being taken to identify their location and secure their release, Markov says, referring to the close cooperation on the matter between Russian diplomats and Syrian authorities."
In an interview with the Voice of Russia broadcast on Tuesday, Mikhail Fedotov, the head of Russia’s presidential council on human rights, said that the council is concerned over the situation with the Russian citizens in Syria.
"We consider as unacceptable the situation when Russian citizens are detained and abducted in Syria and when ransom is demanded for their release. This runs counter to norms of international law and basic moral norms. We call on all those who communicate with the abductors to make them stop their outrageous actions. We demand an immediate release of all the hostages, including Ukrainian journalist Anhar Kochneva, who was collaborating with several Russian media outlets."
Earlier this year, she was kidnapped by militants from the Free Syrian Army, who published an ultimatum to demand a 50-million-dollar ransom in exchange for Kochneva’s life. Although the ultimatum deadline reportedly expired on December 13, negotiations on her release are still under way, according to the latest information.
In a statement last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that it is looking at a possible evacuation of Russian citizens from Syria, but that the “moment hasn't come yet.”
Some media outlets reported on Tuesday that if the government finally decides to evacuate Russians from Syria, it could be done by vessels escorted by the Russian navy or by government planes.
Right now, warships from the Russian Baltic Fleet are reportedly on their way to Syria.
Kidnappers have demanded a ransom for the release of two Russians and one Italian national they abducted earlier this month, Russia’s foreign office has confirmed.
The Foreign Ministry has warned all Russian citizens against going to the war-torn Syria.
Russia has vowed to do everything possible to free the kidnapped Russian citizens in Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. “We are dealing with this,” he added.
Mr. Lavrov confirmed that two Russians and one Italian had been abducted in Syria. They were employed by a private Syrian company, Russian embassy’s spokesperson in Syria, Sergei Markov, told Russia’s Channel One
The Russian embassy in Syria confirmed on Monday that two Russian nationals have been abducted near the western Syrian port city of Latakia.
“Two Russian citizens, who worked in the country, have been abducted near Latakia. The embassy takes search measures in close cooperation with the local authorities,” embassy spokesman Sergei Markov said.
He said that circumstances surrounding the abduction are being studied and refused to give any further details citing security concerns.
Italian media reported earlier on Monday that three steel mill employees, two Russians and one Italian, had been abducted near the Syrian city of Latakia. The Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed that an Italian national had been abducted.
No group has so far publicly claimed responsibility and the hostage-takers have, as yet, not made any demands.
Two Russians and one citizen of Italy have been abducted outside Latakia in Syria, Italian Sky TG24 reports.
A statement earlier released by Italy`s Foreign Ministry said that the three abducted men, including engineer Mario Belluomo, worked at a steel plant.
The ministry said it would not provide any details on when the kidnapping took place or on the nationalities of the two other people in order to protect them.
A ministry official told Reuters that they were kidnapped in Tartus, the country's second largest port and about 90 km (56 miles) from Latakia.
Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said in the statement that he was working with "all the facilities of the state involved" to ensure the release of the kidnapped Italian.
The Russian embassy in Damascus, Syria, has been informed about the possible abduction of Russian nationals in the country and is currently verifying these reports, spokesman Sergei Markov said on Monday.
"We are currently verifying these reports, but, at the moment, we have no information about the abduction of Russian citizens,” Markov said.
Voice of Russia, RIA, Reuters, TASS, Interfax