April 19, 2012: Libya intends to try two Russian citizens for serving as mercenaries for deceased dictator Moamar Kaddafi and working to shoot down NATO aircraft. The two men came to Libya last year, two months before the Kaddafi government was overthrown. The two Russians face the death penalty. In addition, the Libyans are holding three Belarussians and 20 Ukrainians, who were also apparently hired by Kaddafi as mercenaries. The 25 all insist they were hired as oil workers. None of them have an oil industry background, but they do have military experience. All of them were captured last August at a Libyan military base after it was overrun by the rebels.
The Libyans appear willing to work with the Ukrainian government and make a deal to get the Ukrainians out. But the Libyans appear determined to punish the two Russians. In response, the Russian government is accusing the Libyans of using this to get back at Russia for supporting Kaddafi.