Ukraine's Security Service confirms detention of its servicemen in Donetsk region
The operation’s headquarters has received appropriate orders in connection with the incident, it said. A criminal case into the servicemen’s detention has been opened.
Representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s self-defense volunteer corps have confirmed that three SBU officers from Kiev were indeed seized in Gorlovka on Saturday night.
"The three – commander and two officers (colonel, mayor and captain) – are servicemen of the SBU’s A (Alpha) special task unit. They were detained while trying to fulfill a combat mission aimed at capturing self-defense fighters in Gorlovka," Igor Strelkov, commander of the self-defense forces, said in Slavyansk, where the detainees are currently being held.
The seized SBU servicemen will either be swapped for "self-defense fighters who were captured and sent to Kiev, or remain in Slavyansk until a solution is reached," Strelkov said on Sunday.
Earlier, self-defense forces detained a group of European military observers, allegedly from the OSCE, who claim to have been invited by the Kiev authorities.
There is evidence that the so-called observes had actually been spying, a spokesman for the self-defense forces told reporters.
People’s militia fighters in the Donetsk region have captured three officers of the special task force of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) who arrived from Kiev.
Representatives of the militia of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) told reporters on Sunday that the detained special task force officers had the task to conduct reconnaissance and abduct Igor Bezler, a leader of Donetsk self-defence forces, TASS correspondent reports from Slavyansk where the detainees were taken from the city of Gorlovka.
"All the three (detainees) are fighters of the Alfa special task force unit of the Security Service of Ukraine - the group commander and officers (lieutenant colonel, major and captain). They were captured when they were performing a combat task aimed at seizure of members of Donbass people’s militia in the city of Gorlovka," head of Slavyansk self-defence forces Igor Strelkov said.
According to him, "they will be either exchanged for militia members who have been seized and taken to Kiev or will be kept with us until the situation is clarified."
Self-defence forces’ representative Yevgeny Gorbik told reporters that an SSU special group arrived for capturing a leader of the Donetsk self-defence forces Igor Bezler - "a man that keeps the interior department of Gorlovka."
"Bezler, as always, has captured those who are hunting him and taken them here. And all others will be - as their skills are low, and they have zero courage," the militia member said.
The self-defence forces of Donbass since Friday have been holding a group of military observers from a number of member states of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) who were staying in the east of Ukraine at the invitation of Kiev’s authorities. Gorbik said that the detained persons were engaged in intelligence activity.
"Their team included intelligence agents with cryptographed messages, note-pads with secret notes. A Bulgarian officer had a note-pad with notes in Russian, which confirm his secret activity," he stressed. According to the OSCE Secretariat, the team comprises four German experts and one military observer from Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic and Sweden each.