Pro-Russia Forces Free 1 Western Observer

Seven others have been held since Friday

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Apr 27, 2014 11:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – At least one of the eight European military observers held prisoner by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine has been freed. An AP photographer saw the observer get into a car today with representatives of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe and drive away. The released man is a Swedish national who was released for health reasons, reports al-Jazeera. "He has a mild form of diabetes and so we decided to let him go," says a separatist spokeswoman. Earlier in the day, the eight observers had been shown in public for the first time since they were detained on Friday and accused of spying for NATO.

Vacheslav Ponomarev, self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk, right, speaks as two military observers, one Axel Schneider of Germany, left, look to each other in Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 27, 2014.
Vacheslav Ponomarev, self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk, right, speaks as two military observers, one Axel Schneider of Germany, left, look to each other in Slovyansk, Ukraine, April 27, 2014.   (Alexander Zemlianichenko)
CAPTION CORRECTION, CORRECTS TO REMOVE REFERENCE TO AXEL SCHNEIDER OF GERMANY, MAN AT SECOND RIGHT IS UNIDENTIFIED - Foreign military observers are escorted by pro-Russian militants to attend a press conference in city hall, of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, April 27, 2014. As Western governments vowed to impose more sanctions...
CAPTION CORRECTION, CORRECTS TO REMOVE REFERENCE TO AXEL SCHNEIDER OF GERMANY, MAN AT SECOND RIGHT IS UNIDENTIFIED - Foreign military observers are escorted by pro-Russian militants to attend a press...   (Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Ukrainian government troops guard a checkpoint near the village of Dolina, 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, April 26, 2014. Ukrainian authorities are undertaking a security operation to liberate the nearby city of Slovyansk, which is currently controlled by an armed pro-Russian insurgency.
Ukrainian government troops guard a checkpoint near the village of Dolina, 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, April 26, 2014. Ukrainian authorities are undertaking a security...   (Sergei Grits)
CAPTION ADDITION, ADDS ID OF MAN AT SECOND LEFT - Vacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk, second right, speaks, as he is surrounded by a group of foreign military observers, including Axel Schneider, second from left, who are being held by Ponomarev's group during a press conference in city...
CAPTION ADDITION, ADDS ID OF MAN AT SECOND LEFT - Vacheslav Ponomarev, the self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk, second right, speaks, as he is surrounded by a group of foreign military observers, including...   (Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Masked pro-Russian activists guard the entrance during their mass storming of a regional Television Centre in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, April 27, 2014.
Masked pro-Russian activists guard the entrance during their mass storming of a regional Television Centre in Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, April 27, 2014.   (Efrem Lukatsky)
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