Merkel urges release of Ukraine military monitors

The German chancellor calls for immediate release of abducted observers

The German chancellor calls for immediate release of abducted observers

BERLIN - Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has called Wednesday for the immediate release of international observers abducted in eastern Ukraine. 

Germany is currently using "all diplomatic channels" to find a solution, Merkel said after a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Berlin. 

"Russia could do more. This [release of OSCE military monitors] would be a very important symbol for a de-escalation. But it must be followed by other signs," said Merkel. "There is a willingness to carry out economic sanctions. If all this does not bear fruit, we think that further sanctions are necessary." 

The eight observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe were abducted by pro-Russian forces in Slavyansk on Friday.

A Swedish member of the monitoring group was freed Sunday on health grounds just a few hours after the monitors were shown for the first time to the media at a press conference.

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