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Western observers released in eastern Ukraine

Western military observers held captive by Ukrainian rebels for eight days walked free on Saturday. They'd been held by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk. They work for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE. They were in the country at Ukraine's request, part of a monitoring mission to gather information and reduce tensions on the ground. Their captors initially described them as prisoners of war. Slaviansk's pro-Russian separatist leader said he released the observers to coincide with his birthday. Their capture was a major diplomatic issue for the West. Kiev and the West had criticised Russia for failing to help with their release. But their freedom on Saturday could help relieve pressure on Moscow, just when Ukraine teeters a little closer to war.

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