US Vice-President Joe Biden touched down in Ukraine as a show of Washington’s support for Kyiv. He is expected to announce a package of technical assistance for the interim government.
His arrival came after US and European officials said they will impose new sanctions if the separatists do not leave government buildings and amid reports of Ukrainian soldiers and a journalist being held.
“We believe that the Russian side, like us, will condemn today’s actions of extremists which were carried out against journalists, namely the abduction of civilians and journalists. It is nothing but terrorism,” Ukrainian acting Foreign Minister Andri Deshchytsia told reporters.
There are claims a freelance journalist has been missing in Slovyansk since last week while her captors paraded Irma Krat before the local media. It’s reported they have accused her of “war crimes”.
“I’m alright, a little cold. They’re feeding me, giving me drinks. They are not humiliating me and do not rape me. Sometimes they try to threaten me but if there was anything at all I would have told you,” she said.
The 29-year-old was blindfolded and led away after she spoke. In another incident on Monday the Slovyanski separatists apparently released around a dozen Ukrainian soldiers. It’s unclear the circumstances under which they had been held.