Freed OSCE observers arrive in Kiev

Military observers from the OSCE, captured more than a week ago by Ukrainian separatists, have been released and have arrived back in Kiev.

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John Kerry welcomes release of military monitors

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, has welcomed the release in Ukraine of military monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) but said more steps were needed to de-escalate the crisis.

US Secretary of State John Kerry holds press conference. Credit: Wiktor Dabkowski/DPA/Press Association Images

After landing in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a visit, he said: "We will both advance ideas about how to do that, without any promises of what those possibilities may produce. In the end, we reaffirmed our support for the OSCE."

Kerry said he spoke by phone with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and that both would discuss with Switzerland's president ways the OSCE might "play a larger role in perhaps facilitating the de-escalation".

OSCE members hug after separatists release them

Military observers, who were freed today after being held hostage by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, hugged friends and colleagues moments after they were released by their captors.

OSCE members hug each other following their release. Credit: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
OSCE observer Axel Schneider (R) hugs a colleague. Credit: REUTERS/Marko Djurica

OSCE observers treated well by pro-Russian captors

OSCE military observers, who were held hostage by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, told ITV News they were treated well by their captors.

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates and Foreign News Editor John Angier have tweeted from Ukraine:

Separatist leader: No conditions for observers' release

Pro-Russian separatist leader, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, has confirmed that Western observers have been freed in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slaviansk and that there were no conditions for their release.

The self-styled mayor of Slaviansk Vyacheslav Ponomaryov. Credit: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

He said: "As I promised them, we celebrated my birthday yesterday and they left. As I said, they were my guests."

He confirmed that 12 people had been released, including Ukrainians and Europeans.


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