London, May 3 (IANS) Seven international military observers linked to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), held captive by pro-Russian activists in eastern Ukraine, were freed Saturday, a media report said.
The observers were held captive April 25 and were seized from the the town of Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine.
The five Ukrainian officers who were also held captives alongside the seven observers have also been freed, the BBC reported.
The development comes as the Ukrainian government Friday launched a full-scale operation in Sloviansk, using aircraft and launching troops against pro-Russian activists even as Russia slammed the move.
US President Barack Obama Friday had called for the observers to be released.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had also said earlier that the release of the seven observers - four Germans, a Dane, a Pole and a Czech - would be "an important step" in easing tensions in the region.