'Polish mercenaries' detained in eastern Ukraine, claim separatists
PR dla Zagranicy
The leader of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk has claimed that Polish and Czech nationals are among “foreign mercenaries” detained by militia in the eastern region of Ukraine.
Pro-Russian forces in Slaviansk, eastern Ukraine: photo - PAP/EPA/VALENTINA SVISTUNOVA
The Russian Interfax news agency is reporting Pro-Russian separatist leader Miroslav Rudenko as saying that, “among men of African appearance [detained] there are also many citizens of the Czech Republic and Poland”.
Poland's foreign ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski has dismissed the claim as “black propaganda”.
“I cannot confirm the reports,” he said in a post on Twitter.
Last week, Donetsk militia claimed to have taken a number of foreigners prisoners fighting on the Ukrainian side in what has become a bloody civil war and since mid-May, the Kremlin in Moscow has been saying that “foreign mercenaries” are in the region, fighting with Ukrainian forces.
Separatist leader Rudenko told Interfax that he doesn't know if the foreigners are still in captivity as “there has not been an exchange of prisoners for some time”.
After being sworn in as Ukraine's new president on Saturday, Petro Poroshenko said after talks with an envoy from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Russia's ambassador to Ukraine that “we must stop the gunfire [in the east] this week”.
Fighting continued in the Slaviansk region in eastern Ukraine on sunday and gunfire was also reported in the town of Torez, with reports in Ukraine's media suggesting there were casualties.
Pro-Russian gunmen are continuing to hold a number of government buildings in the eastern region of Ukraine, despite the ongoing "counter-terror operation" by Ukrainian government troops. (pg)