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Talks on freeing Ukrainian sailors on ship captured by pirates near end, says Foreign Ministry 

Talks on releasing Ukrainian citizens from the Ukrainian vessel Faina, which was captured by Somali pirates in September, are at the final stage, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vasyl Kyrylych said at a briefing in Kyiv on Monday. According to official reports, negotiations on the release of the Faina crewmembers have entered the final stage, " he said. "The condition of the hostages and the situation onboard the Faina are satisfactory, " he added. As reported, the pirates seized the vessel, flying the flag of Belize, in neutral waters close to Kenya on September 25. The ship was carrying about 30 T-72 tanks, other weapons and ammunition, and spare parts for military armored vehicles and had 17 Ukrainians, three Russians, and one Latvian citizen on board. Initially, the pirates demanded $35 million for the release of the ship. As time passed, their demands fell to $8 million and then to $3 million. The pirates said they were ready to sink the ship if the ransom was not paid. The media issued a number of unofficial reports last Sunday that the pirates were ready to release the Faina crew in the near future.
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