Moscow -

The kidnappers of two Russian workers and an Italian who were abducted this week have demanded a ransom of 50 million Syrian pounds (700 000 dollars), a Russian news report said on Thursday.

Russian citizens Viktor Gorelov and Abdessattar Hassoun, and Italian Mario Belluomo, all employees of Syrian engineering company Hmisho Steel SA, were seized on Monday on the road between Homs and the port city of Tartus.

The kidnappers telephoned the company to demand the ransom, Moscow newspaper Kommersant said online, quoting an unnamed source.

A diplomat in Moscow who asked not to be named said they demanded around 50 million Syrian pounds, the report said. - Sapa-dpa