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Red Cross Says Workers Detained in East Ukraine Freed

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Several Red Cross members whom rebels said they had detained in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have been released, an official .from the organisation in Kiev told AFP Saturday.

“An emergency response team from the local Red Cross and one member of the international Red Cross were detained. They are now all free,” said the official, who did not wish to be named.

The international staff member is Swiss, the official added.

“The latest information that we have is that they were released at around 2:00 am (2300 GMT Friday) last night.

“We don’t know who they were detained by. We are awaiting more information,” the official added.

Earlier on Saturday, Kiril Rudenko, deputy spokesman for the self-proclaimed “People’s Republic of Donetsk”, said the Red Cross workers had been detained because the rebels thought they were spies.

“They were arrested yesterday. We suspect they were engaged in espionage and we are currently checking these accusations,” said Rudenko.

A spokeswoman for the International Committee for the Red Cross in Geneva told AFP: “Our colleagues were apparently taken, but then they were let go.”

“As we speak now, everyone has been released,” she said, adding that the organisation was trying to verify the number of Red Cross workers taken and their nationalities.

Several members of the Red Cross had been arrested in the rebel-held eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on suspicion of espionage, a spokesman for the insurgents told AFP on Saturday.

“They were arrested yesterday. We suspect they were engaged in espionage and we are currently checking these accusations,” said Kiril Rudenko, deputy spokesman for the self-proclaimed “People’s Republic of Donetsk”.

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