News / Europe

OSCE Makes Appeal for Its Ukraine Hostages

Ukrainian troops stand atop of a vehicle as they leave the scene of fighting in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, June 13, 2014.
Ukrainian troops stand atop of a vehicle as they leave the scene of fighting in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, June 13, 2014.
Anita Powell
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says the situation in eastern Ukraine remains volatile, with eight of its observers being held by armed groups.

The OSCE is also sending a high-level Swiss diplomat to Ukraine for peace talks, but the diplomatic effort comes amid worrying reports of increased activity by Russian-backed separatist militias in the country’s east.

OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw on Friday gave few details on the condition of the eight kidnapped monitors, but said the organization is confident that they are “in fairly good condition.” He said no group has owned up to their abduction more than two weeks ago.

“The special monitoring mission to Ukraine has unfortunately not yet re-established communication with the four monitors from the Donetsk team, and the four monitors from the Luhansk team, with whom we lost contact on the 26th and 29th of May, respectively," said Bociurkiw.

"I want to make it clear that no one individual or group has come forward to claim responsibility. We do, however, appeal to anyone or any groups that are holding our colleagues to make immediate contact," he said.

Of the eight abducted monitors, the OSCE has identified the nationalities of four: they are from Switzerland, Estonia, Turkey and Denmark. The nationalities of the other four have not been made public.

Their continued detention comes amid accusations by Ukrainian officials that separatists in the fractious east drove tanks across the border from Russia. Ukraine accuses Russia of fueling the conflict in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east after Ukrainians ousted their Russian-backed president in February.

Bociurkiw says the OSCE has also sent in a high-level Swiss diplomat to engage in peace talks. He said the group now has 240 international monitors in Ukraine, and is planning to send more. He urged the kidnappers to not interfere with their work.

“We want to make one thing clear. It’s that it’s in nobody’s interest for anybody or any entity to hold our monitors. In fact, their — whatever you want to call it, detention or whatever — hampers our ability to do the work we’re we’re supposed to be doing. We’re here for the people of Ukraine. We’re here to bring about de-escalation. So it’s very important that our teams are able to operate in an unfettered fashion, that they have access to all areas of Ukraine. And also don’t forget that we’re not only talking [about] eight unarmed civilians individuals here. We’re talking about families, we’re talking about parents, we’re talking about kids as well; their kids have been separated from them for a very long time," he said.

Although officials from both Ukraine an Russia have indicated they will talk about peace, any such talks are likely to be complicated by Russia’s threat to cut off Ukraine’s natural gas supply after price negotiations broke down earlier in the week.

That shutoff could come as soon as Monday.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs