Summary Sepratists in Slaviansk detain OSCE observers and seek to exchange them for prisoners. Photograph: Roman Pilipey/EPA. Russia has urged the United States to use its influence in Ukraine to secure the release of leaders of the "protest movement" in the southeast of the country - a reference to pro-Russian separatists.
Summary Separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk are ready to exchange a group of international observers they are holding for fellow rebels who are in the custody of the Ukrainian authorities, their leader said on Saturday. However, Germany's foreign minister said Saturday his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov offered his support in bringing about the observers' release. At the same time, Lavrov called on the United States to use its influence to release leaders of the "protest movement" in the country's southeast.
Summary Separatists in Slaviansk are ready to exchange a group of international observers they are holding for fellow rebels who are in the custody of the Ukrainian authorities. Abdoulaye Wade is back - two years after losing Senegal's presidency and leaving for France. Well-wishers in Dakar gave a rapturous reception to the 87-year-old who looks to have returned to the West African country for personal and political reasons.
Summary SLAVIANSK, Ukraine -- The leader of separatist rebels holding a group of international observers in the Ukrainian city of Slaviansk said he was scheduled on Sunday to meet a delegation of mediators who were on their way to negotiate the observers' release. Asked about the possibility of freeing the detained military observers in exchange for the release of separatists held by the Kiev authorities, he said: "It's the fundamental option." "The soldiers are hostages of the situation, but I think everything will be OK. We'll reach some agreement."
Summary SLAVIANSK, Ukraine -- President Barack Obama on Sunday said the United States and Europe must join forces to impose sanctions on Russia to stop it destabilizing Ukraine, where armed pro-Russian separatists were for a third day holding eight international observers prisoner. NATO has responded by sending reinforcements to eastern Europe. The Western-backed government in Kiev accuses the Kremlin of planning to invade the east of Ukraine, and of preparing the ground by training and supporting the armed separatists who have seized about a dozen public buildings around the region.
Summary SLAVIANSK, Ukraine -- One of the international observers detained by pro-Russian separatists in the east Ukrainian city of Slaviansk said on Sunday all the group were in good health. At a news conference organised by the separatists, a German member of the observer mission, Colonel Axel Schneider, told reporters he had "not been touched," and that there had been no physical mistreatment of the group.
Summary SLAVIANSK, Ukraine, April 26 (Reuters) - Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine offered on Saturday to release eight captive international observers in a prisoner exchange, as Western governments prepared new sanctions against Moscow. Steinmeier said Lavrov had offered his backing, which he welcomed. In a separate call with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the Russian minister said Ukraine must halt military operations in the southeast of the country in order to defuse the crisis.
Summary SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - A member of the team of international observers detained by separatists in the Ukrainian city of Slaviansk said on Sunday the de facto mayor had guaranteed the observers' safety. "We wish from the bottom of our hearts to go back to our nations as soon and as quickly as possible," the observer, German national Colonel Axel Schneider, said at a news conference organised by his captors.