3 May 2014, 14:37

Ukraine confirms release of OSCE military observers in Slavyansk

Ukraine confirms release of OSCE military observers in Slavyansk

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has confirmed Saturday the release of the OSCE military observers detained earlier by pro-federalization activists in the eastern city of Slavyansk, the Donetsk region, the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN reported. "We confirm the release of the OSCE mission military observers," the Ministry said.

Earlier Saturday Russian President’s special representative, Vladimir Lukin, announced that 12 foreign military inspectors from an observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) detained in Slavyansk have been released. Russian president's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said that mission of Lukin, who was sent to southeastern Ukraine for talks on freeing foreign military observers, was successful and Russia will continue its de-escalation efforts in Ukraine, RIA reports.

The OSCE also reported Saturday that its military observers have been freed.

A bus carrying seven members of an OSCE observer mission in Ukraine and five Ukrainian military officers was seized by pro-federalization protesters in eastern city of Slavyansk on April 25. People's mayor of Slavyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, said the monitors and Ukrainian military officials who accompanied them were detained on suspicion of espionage.

OSCE observers released in Ukraine's Slavyansk - people's mayor

The people's mayor of Slavyansk Vyacheslav Ponomaryov has told Interfax about the release of the OSCE representatives. "We have released them. We transferred them to one of the checkpoints on the opposite side," he told Interfax by phone on Saturday.

On the way to the checkpoint the OSCE specialists were escorted by armed militiamen, he said. "We did everything in our power to ensure their safety," Ponomaryov said.

OSCE observers detained in Slavyansk released - Russian official

Foreign military observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have been released in the Ukrainian city of Slaviansk, Russian human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin said.

OSCE military inspectors to be freed - Slavyansk people's mayor

The people's mayor of Slavyansk Vyacheslav Ponomaryov is going to release the OSCE representatives who have been captured by militiamen.

"They are sitting in my office, I am talking to them and going to release them," Ponomaryov said. This is not to do with the unsafe situation in the town, he said.

"They are my guests, I do not want them to be hurt," he said.

On April 25 Slavyansk self-defense forces stopped a bus carrying a group of inspectors working in Ukraine under the OSCE resolution in accordance with the Vienna Document 2011 on confidence- and security-building measures, and escorted it to the town.

There were eight members in the group: four German officers, one Swede, one Pole, one Dane and one Czech.

Later the Swedish military inspector, Ingvi Thomas Johansson, was released because of suffering from diabetes.

Read also:

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Ukraine's military offensive delays release of OSCE team - activists

OSCE calls on Kiev to stop operation in Slavyansk

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