Russians in Iraq: captives by mistake

Russian captives that have been released recently claim they were taken hostages by mistake. Iraqis thought they were Americans.

One of the employees of Russian company “InterEnergoService” Alexander Gordienko, who has been taken hostage May 10th, was released and sent off to Moscow. According to him, hijackers did not realize at first that they got Russians.

“Had we spoken Russian, we would have been released right away,” comments he. “Had they known we were Russians, they would not have killed the man. Perhaps, they captured us by mistake. We do look like Americans,” said he.

Gordienko states he doesn’t know who shot at their car and afterwards taken them hostages. ‘How wree we supposed to know; they did not tell us,” says Gordeev.

Gordienko also states he did not witness the death of his colleague, 44-year-old Alexei Konorev, because he was sitting sideways. “We did not even have time to get scared; everything happened so quickly,” says he.

According to Gordienko, as soon as Arabs escorted him along with another Russian Meshcheryakov from the car that belonged to “InterEnergoService”, they were then placed in the back of Opel with sealed windows.

They were then transported to some village. They weren't allowed to leave the premises.

“We were both treated very well; we were fed 3-4 times daily,” said Meshcheryakov. “The hijackers shared our meals with us; we conversed in broken Arabic with them.”

The second released hostage Andrey Meshcheryakov decided to stay in Iraq. According to a company representative, Meshcheryakov claimed that “he needed to finish his work in time.”

“InterEnergoService” will raise salaries of its specialists in Iraq. This has been reported by a company's spokesman. According to him, “the issue is currently under discussion.”

He also noted that “those, who risk their lives in the military zone have to receive proper compensation.” In the meantime, specialists' salaries have not been disclosed yet.

At the same time, acting director of “InterEnergoService” Alexander Rybinsky allowed for a possibility of a new set of specialists will be sent off to Iraq in the nearest future.

Photo: 1st Channel