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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid