More Confusion Over Captured OSCE Observers
The self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, said on Friday that the four OSCE observers, including one Estonian, taken captive on May 26 are in good health, but there is confusion to exactly who is holding the men.
Ponomaryov said the men are held in the Luhansk region and are safe, but are held by “non-Slavic” fighter, who are likely to be Chechens, the Moscow Times reported on Friday. An investigation into the men's activities is thought to have began, although some reports surfaced on Thursday and Friday that the men are about to be set free.
Other pro-Russia separatists in the region said they know nothing about the whereabouts of the men.
On Saturday a Russian representative at the OSCE, Andrei Kelin, said they have talked to the kidnapped observes via Skype, but their release is dragging out and they could be part of a prisoner exchange for fighters held captive by Kyiv forces.
Ponomaryov then said on Sunday that the men have been released, but Mariin Ratnik, Estonia's representative at the OSCE said on Sunday that this has not been confirmed.