15:57 17.01.2013

Syrian insurgents ready to release Ukrainian woman for $300,000 ransom - relative

Syrian insurgents holding hostage Ukrainian citizen Ankhar Kochneva have told her relatives that they were prepared to cut the ransom to $300,000, Kochneva's nephew Dmytro said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.

The hostage-takers contacted Kochneva's former husband via Skype and said they were agreed to release her for this sum of money but that the Ukrainian authorities were doing nothing to secure her release sooner.

"They said the Ukrainian authorities are negotiating but not meeting any deadlines," Dmytro said. "Russia has also distanced itself from this," he added.

Kochneva's mother also sent a letter to Russian Ambassador in Kyiv Mikhail Zurabov, asking him for help, as her child is a Russian citizen, Dmytro said. However, the letter went unanswered.

It was said earlier that Kochneva had been abducted in Syria in October 2012 by Free Syrian Army insurgents. They threatened to kill her unless a $50-million ransom was paid.

Kochneva's abductors also contacted Ukrainian journalists to express their outrage at the inactivity of the Ukrainian authorities, while Kyiv has claimed repeatedly it is doing all it can to have Kochneva released.

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