KIEV - Several members of the Red Cross were held for seven hours by rebel activists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk and released early on Saturday, one having been beaten, a Red Cross official in Kiev said.



A spokesman for the self-styled pro-Russian "Donetsk People's Republic" said on Saturday they had been detained on Friday evening by rebel activists on suspicion of espionage.



The Red Cross official gave no further details, though the internet newspaper Novosti Donbassa said a Frenchman had been among those held. there was no confirmation of this.

"They were released at two o'clock. One had beeen heavily beaten," Red Cross official Irina Tsaryuk told Reuters.

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