German foreign Minister hits out at ‘revolting’ violationMonday, April 28, 2014
Militants parade hostages in Ukraine
SLOVYANSK — Pro-Russian militants in camouflage fatigues and black balaclavas paraded captive European military observers before the media yesterday, hours after three Ukrainian security guards were shown on Russian TV bloodied, blindfolded and stripped of their trousers and shoes, their arms bound with packing tape.
The provocative displays came as the pro-Russian insurgency in the east of the country turns to hostage-taking as an ominous new tactic.
Germany’s foreign minister condemned the appearance as “revolting” and called the move a violation of the men’s dignity. Four members of the team are German. One of the observers, a Swede, was released later in the day for medical reasons.
Dozens of people are being held hostage, including journalists and pro-Ukraine activists, in makeshift jails in Slovyansk in the heart of the separatists’ territory, as the pro-Russian insurgents strengthen their control in the east in defiance of the interim government in Kiev and its Western supporters.
Colonel Axel Schneider from Germany, who spoke for the group of military observers who were detained and taken hostage on Friday, stressed yesterday that they were on a diplomatic mission under the auspices of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe and weren’t spying for NATO, as the insurgents claim.
Schneider said additional proof of this was the participation of the officer from Sweden, which is not a member of NATO.
The hostages appeared nervous and were escorted by armed men.
Herald with Reuters