Pirates off the coast of Somalia are demanding a huge ransom to release a Ukrainian ship that was bound for Kenya with military tanks and ammunition.
Multiple sources tell foreign news agencies the pirates are seeking $35 million to release the Ukrainian ship Faina and its crew of 21. They were seized in the Gulf of Aden Thursday.
Some reports say the pirates have demanded to negotiate directly with the Kenyan government. They also have warned against military action to free the ship and its crew.
On Friday, the Russian Navy said it was sending a warship to Somalia's coast. Ukraine's foreign ministry says three Russians are among the 21 crew members. The ship was carrying 33 Russian-made T-72 tanks as well as ammunition and spare parts for the armored vehicles.
Separately, Egyptian media Saturday announced that Somali pirates have released an Egyptian ship and 25 crew members captured in the Gulf of Aden earlier this week. It is not clear if a ransom was paid to secure their release.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.