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Kurz calls for hostages to be released

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has added his voice to calls for a safe and quick release of the hostages being held by pro-Russia groups in Ukraine.

Around 40 people, including military observers for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have been held since last week.

Speaking after a meeting with the current Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deschytsia, Kurz emphasised the need to secure the release without any conditions attached.

"It is important to implement the Geneva agreements, and we appreciate the steps that have been made by the Ukrainian government," he said in Kyiv on Wednesday. "We expect that the hostages will be released without any additional conditions."

He also called on the Russian side to take the steps necessary to de-escalate the situation, reflecting the position also taken by Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann.

Journalist for US publications Vice and Time have also been targeted by pro-Russian groups recently, with six being held captive last week in the eastern town of Slavyansk although they have now been released.

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