3 Russian sailors held in Libya released

Russia's Foreign Ministry says three Russian sailors have been freed from captivity in Libya.

The ministry said Tuesday that Andrei Krynin, Stanislav Sirotkin and Valery Savitsky returned to Russia after the end of legal procedures in Tripoli. The men arrived on a specially-chartered plane in Grozny, the capital of Russia's Chechen Republic.

The sailors, who were accused of smuggling oil, were on board the Russian oil tanker Mekhanik Chebotarov when it was seized in September 2015 off the Libyan coast. Three other Russian sailors are still being held in Libya, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian leader of predominantly Muslim Chechnya, took a leading role in the negotiations to free the sailors and Chechen officials traveled to Libya to arrange the release.