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Separatists in Slaviansk open to prisoner exchange

Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 01:27

April 26 - The self-declared ''people's mayor'' of Slaviansk says he's willing to do a prisoner exchange with Kiev for the military observers they detained. Nathan Frandino reports.

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In the Ukrainian city of Slaviansk, where pro-Russian separatists are holding a group of international observers, the self-declared "people's mayor" says he's willing to let them go -- but with a price. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SEPARATIST LEADER VYACHESLAV PONOMARYOV, SAYING: "The Kiev junta has our fellows and comrades. Therefore, if there is a possibility, we are ready for an exchange." He told a news conference capturing the observers for a swap was not a preconceived plan. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SEPARATIST LEADER VYACHESLAV PONOMARYOV, SAYING: "That was not our plan (to take prisoners for a swap). But you understand that prisoners have always been coins to exchange during times of war. It's an international practice to swap prisoners. There is nothing scary about it." German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says the detained group includes four Germans. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, SAYING: "The OSCE is efforting a fast release in talks with the groups who have detained the observer mission. Of course the OSCE has our full support. We have initiated a crisis group already yesterday at the Foreign Ministry." More monitors are on the way to Slaviansk to seek the release of those detained.

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Separatists in Slaviansk open to prisoner exchange

Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 01:27