Pro-Russian Militiamen Parade Captured European Observers in Eastern Ukraine
Eight European military observers held prisoner by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine appeared in public Sunday and gave assurances that they weren’t being mistreated, but there was no indication they would be released soon.
The insurgents in Slovyansk have taken a number of people hostage, including journalists and pro-Ukraine activists, as they strengthen their control in the east of the country in defiance of the interim government in Kiev and its Western supporters. On Sunday, they captured three Ukrainian security service officers, who were shown to Russian journalists bloodied and blindfolded with packing tape.
Col. Axel Schneider from Germany, who spoke for the group of military observers, stressed that they were on a diplomatic mission under the auspices of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe when detained Friday and weren’t spying for NATO, as the insurgents claim.
The observers, who appeared nervous, were in the custody of armed men wearing camouflage fatigues and black balaclavas, who escorted them into the Slovyansk city hall for the news conference and led them away afterward. Schneider, however, said they were being treated as well as possible under the circumstances.