SLOVYANSK - Separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk are ready to exchange a group of international observers they are holding for fellow rebels who are in the custody of the Ukrainian authorities, their leader said on Saturday.

Asked about a prisoner exchange, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, de facto mayor of Slaviansk, told reporters: "The Kiev junta has our fellows and comrades therefore, if there is a possibility, we are ready for an exchange."



"They (members of the observer mission) are in alright condition. One of the soldiers suffers from diabetes, but it is not a serious condition, he is on tablets. There is medicine there is food," said Ponomaryov.



"Prisoners have always been coins to exchange during times of war. It's an international practice."



"They are being kept in good conditions. There is no physical duress being used because they are all working with our people," he said, without elaborating.



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