"The Swedish inspector was released Sunday, as he reportedly suffered from diabetes. Other team members are still being held captive."
Berlin, May 1 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday called upon Russian President Vladimir Putin to exert his influence to help achieve the release of detained military observers in Ukraine.

The two leaders held a telephone conversation and discussed issues related to the current situation in Ukraine, Xinhua reported citing a statement by the German government.

Talks spanned the capture of an inspection team from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe - by pro-Russian protestors in eastern Ukraine as well as the Ukrainian presidential elections slated for May 25.

Merkel reminded Putin of Russia's responsibility as an OSCE member state and appealed to him to use his influence to help free the detained observers, the statement said.

A German-led Vienna Document inspection team deployed by the OSCE and their Ukrainian escorts were detained by protestors in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk Friday.

The group includes seven military officers -- three from Germany and one each from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland and Sweden -- and a German interpreter, along with five Ukrainian military escorts.

The Swedish inspector was released Sunday, as he reportedly suffered from diabetes. Other team members are still being held captive.

In a press conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Wednesday in Berlin, Merkel said Germany was using all available diplomatic channels, including contacts with Russia, to help secure a release as soon as possible.


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