A group of European military observers are being held by protesters in Ukraine, who claim the group is travelling with a spy working for the government in Kiev.
The group who work for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is being held in Ukraine’s eastern city of Slavyansk.
Slavyansk mayor Vyacheslav Ponomaryov said the vehicle transporting the international inspectors was stopped because it carried members of Ukrainian armed forces and “military-looking men and munitions.”
“It is true that we have detained the bus, as there we immediately found forbidden bullet shells and other munitions. We are currently sorting out who are these people driving inside it,” Ponomaryov added.
The Slavyansk mayor also said it had been reported to him that there was an “employee of Kiev’s secret military staff” among the observers.
According to a statement issued by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, the OSCE mediators were taken captive on Friday 25, after protesters stopped their bus. The observers were most likely being held in Slavyansk’s state security building, the ministry stated.
On Thursday, Ukrainian troops entered Slavyansk, killing at least five pro-Russian protesters.
Ukraine interim authorities in Kiev said on Friday that army units have begun the second phase of an operation to drive out pro-Russia activists from the eastern cities.
Tensions between Moscow and the Western-backed government in Kiev heightened after Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and rejoined Russia following a referendum on March 16.