- Tajikistan asks Russia to help evacuate its citizens from Libya
- Russia sends planes, ship to evacuate foreigners from riot-struck Libya
- UN Security Council blasts Libya clampdown
- Libyan leader Gaddafi says 'will die a martyr' (Update 1)
The first evacuation plane with Russian citizens onboard arrived at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport from riot-torn Libya on Wednesday, the Russian Emergencies Ministry said.
"The plane landed at 10.29 a.m. Moscow time; there were 118 Russian citizens onboard, including 6 children," a spokesman for the Emergencies Ministry said.
According to international organizations, up to 500 people have been killed and up to 4,000 wounded in clashes with government forces since protests against longtime Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime began on February 15.
Russia has sent four airplanes to evacuate a total of 563 Russians from Libya. Most of them are employees of the Russian Railways monopoly and the Gazprom energy giant or families of Russian diplomats.
On Wednesday, a military transport aircraft left Kiev for Libya to evacuate Ukrainian citizens. Currently, there are about 180 Ukrainian citizens in Tripoli. All-in-all, there are up to 3,000 Ukrainians in Libya.
Bulgaria evacuated 110 of its citizens living in Libya on Wednesday, the Novinite.com news agency said. Another plane will take the remaining Bulgarians later in the day.
Tajikistan's Foreign Ministry has asked the Russian leadership to help evacuate Tajik citizens from Libya, official spokesman for the ministry said on Wednesday.
MOSCOW, February 23 (RIA Novosti)
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.