OSCE 'working at all levels' to free observers captured in Ukraine

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe condemned the detention of its military observers in eastern Ukraine, and continue to call for their immediate release. The area where they were abducted, Sloviansk, the OSCE said Monday "remains a source of concern."

By JC Finley

KIEV, Ukraine, April 28 (UPI) -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is "working at all levels" to achieve the release of its detained military inspectors in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's foreign ministry reported on Friday that communication with OSCE observers in the Donetsk region had been lost.


According to the OSCE, the observers -- comprised of inspectors from Germany, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic, as well as Ukrainian defense ministry personnel -- were detained by a group associated with the "people's mayor" of Sloviansk.

The OSCE released the following statement, conveying Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter's condemnation of the inspectors' detention and insistence on their immediate release.

"This incident goes against the spirit of the recent Geneva Statement agreed upon by Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United States and the European Union aiming at de-escalating the situation and leading the way out of the challenging situation, Burkhalter said. At the same time, it underlines the importance of the international community’s efforts to assist all sides in Ukraine to keep channels of communication open and find ways to peacefully resolve the crisis, Burkhalter continued."


One observer was released on Sunday for health reasons.

On Monday, the OSCE special monitoring mission in Ukraine reported, "The situation in Sloviansk, where the military observers as well as accompanying Ukrainian military officers were taken captive, remains a source of concern."

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