Mediators held in Ukraine as U.S. readies new Russia sanctions
Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 01:45
Apr.26 - The United States and the European Union are expected on Monday to impose new sanctions on Russian individuals, as the Ukraine crisis escalated with armed pro-Russia separatists seizing a bus carrying international mediators. Sarah Toms reports.
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Tensions are escalating in eastern Ukraine.
This latest attack comes as armed separatists seize a bus carrying seven international mediators, five Ukrainian army personnel and a bus driver in Sloviansk.
(SOUNDBITE (Ukrainian) FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN YEVHAN PEREBYINYS, SAYING:(1)
"(There is no contact) with the members of the military verification mission of the OSCE which is present in Ukraine according to the Vienna document. According to preliminary information they may have been captured by terrorists. This information is being checked now. If it is confirmed then it's a harsh crime committed by terrorists."
Pro-Russian leaders in Sloviansk said they had been held because they were believed to have a spy amongst them from the pro-Western government in Kiev.
(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SELF-PROCLAIMED MAYOR OF SLOVIANSK, VYACHESLAV PONOMARYOV, SAYING: (2)
"I've heard, I got reports that there was somebody there from the military headquarters. It already doesn't look good. People who come here as observers from the European Union bring a real spy with them, it doesn't look good at all. This is an example of the policy of double-standards."
Talks are underway to secure the release of the mediators, as a Ukrainian military helicopter is hit by rocket fire eastern city of Kramatorsk
The G7 group of industrialised countries agreed on Saturday to "swiftly" impose fresh sanctions on Russia. But so far Moscow and its supporters have done little to help defuse the crisis in Ukraine.
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