The U.S. State Department is condemning the reported abduction of an international observer team and its Ukrainian escorts by armed gunmen in the town of Slovyansk.
'If true, we strongly condemn this action and call for their immediate release,' said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. 'Over the past week, we've unfortunately seen a rapid escalation in hostage takings by pro-Russian separatists. We condemn this repressive and cowardly tactic and call for the release of all hostages.'
Pro-Russian separatists say the group was detained because a Ukrainian military official was traveling with them.
'They are with us in Slovyansk,' Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, a pro-Russian separatist leader, told Reuters.
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