OSCE makes contact with 'unharmed' kidnapped observers in Ukraine

19th June 2014, Comments 0 comments

The OSCE said Thursday that it has made contact with two teams of four observers who were kidnapped in eastern Ukraine three weeks ago and that they are all "unharmed".

"All the information indicates that all members in both teams are unharmed," Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe spokeswoman Natacha Rajakovic said.

"You will understand that we will not say how or when this contact was established so as not to jeopardise their safety. We are directing our efforts through different channels to get access and establish contact with those holding our colleagues," she said.

"We cannot comment about the identity of those detaining them, nor statements made by any groups or individuals that are reported by media."

The two teams were seized in late May, one by armed men at a roadblock in the restive eastern Ukrainian region of Lugansk and the other in neighbouring Donetsk.

The self-proclaimed "people's mayor" of the rebel stronghold of Slavyansk said at the time that the OSCE team seized in Donetsk was being held on suspicions of spying.

Another pro-Russian commander from the little-known Southeastern Front claimed in a statement issued to the Interfax news agency that his men had detained the team in Lugansk.

© 2014 AFP

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