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OSCE monitors meet with Russians captured in east Ukraine

May 21, 2015, 16:10 UTC+3 VIENNA
Both of them claimed that they used to serve in a unit of the Russian Armed Forces
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Reporters look at the TV screen showing Alexander Alexandrov

Reporters look at the TV screen showing Alexander Alexandrov

© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov

VIENNA, May 21. /TASS/. The monitors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) visited a military hospital in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Thursday to meet with two Russian citizens who had been detained by the Ukrainian troops in Donbas.

A report of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) said that the OSCE members assessed their health but gave no more details. The representatives of the Ukrainian authorities were not present as the SMM representatives spoke to the individuals.

One of them told the SMM he had received military education in Russia. Both of them claimed that they used to serve in a unit of the Russian Armed Forces, according to the report.

They came under fire and were wounded on the contact line near the village of Shchastye, in eastern Ukraine. "One of them stressed repeatedly that there were no Russian troops involved in fighting in Ukraine," it said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Monday it hoped that the former servicemen held by the Ukrainian Security Service would be released. Russian citizens Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev were not active-duty servicemen at the moment of their detention, the ministry’s official spokesman Gen Igor Konashenkov said.

"We verified the information provided by the Ukrainian side," he said. "These guys really did army service previously and had some military training." He also said an association of veterans of special task forces had asked the Russian ministry to address the Ukrainian General Staff with a request to stop tortures of their wounded fellow soldiers by the SBU.

"We hope the Ukrainian authorities will display rational judgment and will set Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev free at an earliest possible date," Gen Konashenkov said.

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