Ukraine rebels free OSCE monitors, three Ukrainians killed in attack

DONETSK Ukraine Sat Jun 28, 2014 3:35pm EDT

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DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) - Pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine on Saturday released a second group of four monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) who had been seized on May 29, a Reuters witness said.

Their release, which followed the freeing of another group of OSCE monitors early on Friday, came after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced a 72-hour extension to a ceasefire until Monday night. That ceasefire appeared under threat when three members of the Ukrainian military were killed in a rebel attack on their post near the eastern city of Slaviansk.

This correspondent saw the four - three men and a woman - driven by heavily armed men up to the entrance of a hotel in the eastern city of Donetsk.

They stepped out, shook hands with other waiting OSCE representatives and then went into the hotel.

A first group of OSCE monitors, seized days earlier by pro-Russian separatists, were released in the early hours of Friday.

The OSCE monitoring groups are part of a 300-strong force sent there to observe compliance with a four-way agreement in Geneva in April aimed at defusing the crisis in Ukraine's east.

The circumstances of their detention is not yet clear.

"A total of eight were detained and we have released eight," Aleksander Boroday, "prime minister" of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic said on Friday.

A ceasefire extension until Monday night announced by Poroshenko called for the release of "hostages" held by both sides.

But elsewhere on Saturday the ceasefire appeared under threat when three members of the Ukrainian military were killed in a rebel attack on their post near the eastern flashpoint city of Slaviansk.

"As a result of the (rebel) fighters shooting at the post near Slaviansk, three members of the Ukrainian forces were killed and a fourth was wounded," the spokesman, Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Poroshenko announced the extension, partly at the urging of some European leaders, after returning to Kiev from a European Union summit in Brussels where he signed a landmark free trade pact.

(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic, writing by Richard Balmforth)

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Comments (2)
carlmartel wrote:
The purpose of the cease fire should be to encourage negotiations that usually involve people meeting to discuss issues that cause problems in order to resolve the issues and end the problems. This usually involves compromises by both sides, but President Poroshenko does not appear to be sending anyone from his side, or receiving anyone from the rebel side, to negotiate. Therefore, the war is likely to resume when the cease fire ends and cause more destruction to Ukraine’s economy that will cause more hardships for Ukraine’s people.

I have pointed out from photos that Kiev’s army is an incompetent group of warm bodies who wear uniforms and carry weapons, but they are not soldiers, so the war will be longer and more costly than Poroshenko can afford. Also, the 50% higher gas prices have reached consumers whose wages are frozen. Ukraine’s currency has fallen over 40% in value since January 1, 2014, so imported products are much higher while wages are frozen. 40% higher gas prices for utilities and businesses are coming to give 40% higher electricity and store prices for consumers while wages are frozen. Taxes are set to rise at the end of the year while wages are frozen. Further, Poroshenko has agreed to let the EU wage this economic war against the same Ukrainians who overthrew Yanukovich, so Poroshenko is likely to be Ukraine’s next overthrown president. Negotiations with rebels by presidential representatives are better than revolutions that remove presidents, but some leaders must learn their lessons the hard way.

Jun 28, 2014 4:49pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
leesik wrote:
All countries that border russia and/or have business ties with this country should wake up and take notice. The mafia in the kremlin aims at cornering a huge segment of the natural resources that the world relies on. War will not be necessary – capitulation will do the trick. Pukins russia is not looking for partnerships in the way the west understands the term. They are nothing but power hungry authoritarians. The don’t invent, they don’t create, they don’t understand freedom. The steal, they lie, and they use power in the most barbaric of ways. Why pay for something if you can just take it?

Jun 30, 2014 12:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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