28 Apr 2014

Mayor of eastern Ukrainian city shot in back

11:11 pm on 28 April 2014

The pro-Russian mayor of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv has been shot and critically wounded amid continuing unrest in the region.

The mayor's office said Hennadiy Kernes was shot in the back by unknown gunmen, reportedly while he was out jogging, the BBC reports.

It added that he was undergoing emergency surgery in hospital and "fighting for his life".

Mr Kernes used to be a supporter of the former pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych.

More recently he said he no longer backed the ousted president but supported a united Ukraine.

In an earlier development, European Union officials were meeting to adopt additional sanctions against Russia as tension increases about the detention of a team of international military observers in eastern Ukraine.

One European monitor released

One of the eight European monitors seized by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern city of Sloviansk on Friday has been freed.

The man, a Swede, was released on medical grounds.

A spokeswoman said there were no plans to free the rest.

The eight monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe were earlier shown to the media on Sunday. They denied being NATO spies.

Intensive diplomacy has been going on to try to secure their freedom. The captives are accused of spying for NATO and using the OSCE mission as a cover.

They are from Germany, Denmark, Poland and the Czech Republic as well as Sweden.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Russia must do more to press its separatist allies to free them.