Negotiators Try to Release Detained OSCE Observers in Slaviansk
Negotiators are trying to release a group of observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) being held by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
Germany's defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, has confirmed that 13 mission members have been arrested, including the observers, their interpreter and driver.
Denis Pushilin, the head of the separatists' self-declared Donetsk Republic, has accused the observers of spying for NATO.
"We arrested some NATO spies ... they will be exchanged for our own prisoners. I don't see any other way they will be freed," he told reporters.
The OSCE told reporters in Vienna, where it is based, that all the observers in its main mission on the ground in Ukraine were accounted for.
The detained group appears to be part of a separate, smaller unarmed military verification mission under German command.
Russia said it would take all possible steps to free the detained observers, according to reports in Russian news agencies citing Russia's OSCE envoy.
"We think that these people need to be freed as soon as possible," Andrei Kelin said in comments cited by ITAR-TASS.
"Russia as a member of the OSCE will undertake all possible steps in this matter."
Meanwhile, initial reports that a Bulgarian officer was among the apprehended observers, were denied by Bulgaria's Defense Ministry.
The observers are from Germany, Sweden, Poland and Denmark.
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(1) "the separatists' self-declared Donetsk Republic"?-----Thanks for replacing "Russian agents" by "separatists",
Novinite. Now even You are fain to acknowledge that "separatists" are the locals. Look, they didn't participate in Coup d'Etat and they DON'T WANT to obey the illegitimate "new rulers". They have the right on it. Simple.
(2) "a group of observers from OSCE being held..."--- Lie as modus vivendi, Novinite? The detained NATO's MILITARY experts ARE NOT the part of OSCE' stuff in Ukraine. Then, they had the complete itineraries of the region bearing the above experts' marks on the location of the block-posts of "separatists". What for? It is spying at its purest, Novinite, spying in favor of the illegitimate "new rulers", puppets of their overseas masters.