Donetsk (Ukraine) : An insurgent leader said on Thursday that his fighters are holding four observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, reports AP.
Vyacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed “people’s mayor” of Slovyansk, a city in the Donetsk region, said the four monitors are safe and promised that they would be freed soon, according to the Interfax news agency. He didn’t set any conditions for their release.
The OSCE said it had lost contact with one of its four-man monitoring teams in Donetsk on Monday evening. Rebels have previously kidnapped OSCE monitors in Ukraine. Ponomarev said that his men had advised OSCE monitors not to travel across the region, but “there were those four most-zealous ones, and they were detained.”
The OSCE monitors have been deployed to Ukraine to monitor security situation following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and a pro-Russia separatist insurgency that has engulfed regions in eastern Ukraine. They also observed Sunday’s presidential vote, won by billionaire candy magnate Petro Poroshenko.