Moscow seeks release of 2 Russians in Libya

Russia says it is trying to secure the release of two Russians being tried in Libya for allegedly aiding Muammar Qaddafi's forces during last year's civil war.

The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday the two Russian men and 23 nationals from Ukraine and Belarus have been charged with helping to maintain weapons that Qaddafi's regime used against the rebels. The trial began last week.

The ministry says Russian diplomats are trying to improve the detention conditions of the two Russians and ensure their quick release. It says they were detained by the rebels in August.

For years, Libya was a major customer for Soviet weapons, and shortly before his downfall Qaddafi signed new contracts for the supplies of Russian military gear.