Gunmen detain 3 journalists in eastern Ukraine

Armed Pro-Russian man poses for a photo with local children next to barricades in front of city hall in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. The self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at a checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Armed Pro-Russian man poses for a photo with local children next to barricades in front of city hall in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, April 21, 2014. The self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine is appealing to Russia to send in peacekeeping troops after a shootout at a checkpoint near the city manned by pro-Russia insurgents. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) – Three foreign journalists were temporarily detained by pro-Russia insurgents in city in eastern Ukraine on Monday.

One Belarusian and two Italian journalists were stopped by gunmen as they reported in the city of Slovyansk, which has been occupied by pro-Russia forces for more than a week. Slovyansk is one of many cities in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking eastern region where insurgents are demanding greater ties with Russia.

Dmitry Galko told The Associated Press that he and two Italian colleagues were taken in then freed some time later after a document check.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a 57-nation group that includes Russia and the U.S., condemned the detentions.

Pro-Russian insurgents in Slovyansk also are holding a Ukrainian journalist, Irma Krat, who also was an activist in the protests in Kiev that led to the ouster of Russia-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych in February.

On Monday, her captors brought Krat into the courtyard of the local security services building, which the insurgents occupy.

Clearly nervous, Krat told journalists there that “I would like to leave from here, but … politicians should reach agreement and find a peaceful way out.”

After her remarks, her captors wrapped a white cloth over her face and led her back into the building.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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