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Military observers abducted by pro-Russian forces, John Kerry urges Russia to help free them

By Kyle Johnson,

European military observers were grabbed in Ukraine by pro-Russian militants on Friday and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on Russia to help free those who were abducted.

According to Reuters, the observers were grabbed because the militants believe that someone among them is actually a spy for Kiev.

The self-declared mayor of pro-Russian held Sloviansk also said they were grabbed because "They were soldiers on our territory without our permission. Of course they are prisoners." Kiev has accused the kidnap as nothing more than an attempt to use them as human shields.

However, the militants have made clear they wish to trade the international observers for rebels in Ukraine's custody. "Prisoners have always been coins to exchange during times of war. It's an international practice."

Kerry has stepped forward and urged Moscow to help get the observers freed, reports BBC News. The State Department said in a statement Kerry "urged Russian support without preconditions for the efforts of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) and the government of Ukraine to liberate the ... inspectors and their Ukrainian guides."

The statement also noted that Kerry said in his phone call to Moscow that Russia's actions, such as flying planes over Ukrainian territory, "are undermining stability, security and unity in Ukraine."

 
 

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