Ukraine crisis: Second group of international observers captured
'Armed men' detained OSCE group near Luhansk
Friday 30 May 2014
Another team of international observers has been captured in eastern Ukraine as fighting between government troops and rebels continues.
Five members of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have been unaccounted for since 7pm on Thursday.
In a statement, the OSCE said the four international monitors and a Ukrainian translator were travelling in two vehicles in Severodonetsk, north of Luhansk, when they were stopped by "armed men".
It was not immediately clear who detained them or why but pro-Russian rebels have claimed responsibility for kidnapping another team of OSCE observers on Friday.
An insurgent leader in the Donetsk region told journalists that members of the first group were in their custody on Thursday.
The rebels said they would “deal with this and then release them,” but did not estimate how long that would take.
OSCE observers have increasingly become a target for rebels as clashes with the Ukrainian army continue and 11 more were imprisoned at an occupied television studio in Donetsk for seven hours on Wednesday.
In April, pro-Russian separatists captured seven military observers from the organisation near Slovyansk, accusing them of being “Nato spies”.
Four Germans, a Dane, a Pole and a Czech were detained in the town of Kramatorsk before being released at the start of May.
The OSCE’s special monitoring mission to Ukraine started earlier this year at the request of the government and with the agreement of all 57 member states.
It aims to reduce tension and foster peace and security following Russia's annexation of Crimea and an insurgency in southern and eastern parts of Ukraine.
At least 14 soldiers died on Thursday when rebels shot down a helicopter carrying Ukrainian troops near Slovyansk.
The Government in Kiev had vowed to crack down on militias who have seized official buildings in several cities.
President Petro Poroshenko, who will be sworn in to office next week, previously said the campaign against rebels, who he compared to Somali pirates, would last “hours”.
Additional reporting by AP
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 3 Alton Towers Air breaks down: 80 people stuck on broken down Monorail during heatwave
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Alwaleed bin Talal: Saudi Prince to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
Alwaleed bin Talal: Saudi Prince to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you familiar with the sayin...
£6 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...
£6 - £7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...