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Germany advises against travel to east Ukraine

Rebel leader Vyacheslav Ponomaryov (R) speaks during press conference in the occupied regional administration building in Slaviansk, Ukraine, 26 April 2014. The group of European military observers taken captive on 25 April by pro-Russia militants in eastern Ukraine was made up of spies, the separatists said.

Berlin’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday strongly advised Germans to avoid travelling to eastern areas of Ukraine due to the tense situation and said journalists risked being held by separatist forces there.

“The situation in eastern Ukraine is very tense at the moment,” said the ministry, adding an increasing number of state institutions were occupied by armed individuals.

“In view of the latest developments, it must be assumed that representatives of the media are at special risk of being held or seized by separatist forces,”

A member of the team of international observers was detained by separatists in the Ukrainian city of Slaviansk on Sunday. The de facto mayor has 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.

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