Sending observers was ‘irresponsible’, Russia tells OSCE
The decision to send OSCE observers into the east of Ukraine where they were taken hostage by pro-Russian separatists was "extremely irresponsible", Russia said Monday.
“I would like to point out that it was quite an adventure, or a provocation, I’m not sure, to bring these people to a hot spot,” Andrei Kelin, the Russian representative to the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe said in Vienna.
In total, 12 men, eight foreigners and four Ukrainians, were detained in Slavyansk on Friday by separatists.
On Sunday, as some of the men were paraded in front of the cameras, the separatists called the military observers “prisoners of war” and said they wanted to exchange them for people who had been detained by the Ukrainian authorities.
One of the eight was released on Sunday night on health grounds, but the others remain in detention.
“People are expecting an operation or an aggression every moment, so it’s extremely tense. That is why it was extremely irresponsible to direct people to this region in this tense situation,” Kelin told journalists after leaving an extraordinary OSCE session to discuss the Ukrainian crisis.
The diplomat reiterated the fact that Moscow wants to see the observers freed, and said that as well as issuing statements to that effect, the country was also taking “some steps” to see that happen.