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Germany working on release of OSCE hostages

Wednesday - 4/30/2014, 12:18pm  ET

John Christensen, right, a senior Sgt. in the Danish army and his colleague, both members of a group of foreign military observers are escorted by a pro-Russian militant to attend a press conference in the city hall of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, April 27, 2014. As Western governments vowed to impose more sanctions against Russia and its supporters in eastern Ukraine, a group of foreign military observers remained in captivity Saturday accused of being NATO spies by a pro-Russian insurgency. The German-led, eight-member team was traveling under the auspices of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe when they were detained Friday. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

BERLIN (AP) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel says her government is trying "all diplomatic channels possible" to win the release of seven observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe who are being held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Merkel told reporters Wednesday her government's efforts include direct contact with Russia, in the hope leaders in Moscow can use their influence to persuade the militants to release the hostages.

The chancellor says "we have been in touch with the Russian president via the presidential adviser -- from there we hear that there are efforts" being made to help. She said she couldn't elaborate.

Eight military observers were taken hostage earlier this month and one has been released. The seven still being held include three German officers and a German interpreter.

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