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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