Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine release four out of eight international observers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration),
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Rebels in southeast Ukraine early on Friday (June 27) released four out of eight international observers, captured over a month ago, in an apparent goodwill gesture that could help pave the way to a resolution of the conflict that has so far claimed hundreds of lives. Pro-Russian separatists had detained eight observers from the Vienna-based Organisation for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a key security and rights body, tasked with monitoring an agreement drafted in Switzerland in April to de-escalate the crisis that has pitted the rebels against leaders in Kiev. Four observers from Switzerland, Turkey, Estonia and Denmark, part of the 100-strong mission, were brought by heavily armed rebels to a hotel in downtown Donetsk, where they were handed over to their colleagues. Another four remain in rebel captivity in the neighbouring Luhansk region. Securing the release of the four OSCE hostages has been a part of peace consultations between mediators of the Kiev government, OSCE, Russia and rebel leaders.