News / Europe

OSCE Team Freed in Ukraine

OSCE observers stand on a road 30 km (19 miles) from Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, May 3, 2014, after being freed.
OSCE observers stand on a road 30 km (19 miles) from Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, May 3, 2014, after being freed.
VOA News
Pro-Russia militants in Ukraine's eastern city of Slovyansk on Saturday released  a team of European military observers held captive for more than a week.

The observers, sent by the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to monitor security and human-rights conditions in the restive area, had been seized April 25 in Ukraine's flashpoint town of Slovyansk. Insurgent leader Vyacheslav Ponomarv, the self-described "mayor" of Slovyansk, told the Associated Press all seven OSCE observers and their five Ukrainian assistants were freed on Saturday. 

Ponomarev was quoted by the Russian news agency Interfax as saying he ordered the team's release because of rising instability in Slovyansk. But he later told the AP that "they are not being released. They are leaving us, as we promised them."

Russia had sent a special representative, Vladimir Lukin, to help negotiate the release. In a statement Saturday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said the captives' release was "evidence of the bravery and humanism of the defenders of the town. They showed in the first place concern about the security of foreign citizens."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the team’s release but called for more efforts to calm the crisis.
 
Kerry said he spoke by phone with Russia's Foreign Minister and Sergei Lavrov and that both would discuss with OSCE officials how the organization might "play a larger role in perhaps facilitating the de-escalation."

German Col. Axel Schneider, one of the freed captives, told the AP all 12 detainees had held up relatively well. 

"They had a very good attitude," giving them the strength to withstand captivity, Schneider said.

He said Ponomarev had promised the captives would be treated humanely. "We have been treated as good as possible," Schneider said. "This is a miserable situation, but we were under his protection."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also welcomed the freeing of the observers. In a statement, Ban's spokesman said the U.N. chief expresses his appreciation to all who helped facilitate the release, including Russia.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
May 03, 2014 1:37 PM
police is to engage anyone with a gun with leathal force, does the police know what their job is ?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid