Speed Reads

Crisis in Ukraine

Separatists in Ukraine publicly terrorize alleged female spy

Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine begin Tuesday in Minsk, Belarus, but the pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine don't seem to be very interested in ending their battle for an autonomous state. On Sunday, separatists in Donetsk paraded Ukrainian Army prisoners down a major thoroughfare at bayonet point, a display apparently designed to humiliate the prisoners — it was modeled after a Russian parade of Nazi German POWs in World War II — and upstage Ukraine's independence day parades elsewhere in the country.

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On Monday, a group of armed separatists in Donetsk made a middle-aged woman stand on a busy sidewalk, wrapped in a Ukrainian flag and holding a sign saying "She kills our children," The New York Times reports. The woman, an alleged spotter for the Ukraine military, was then taunted, spit at, kicked, slapped, pelted with tomatoes, and threatened by passersby and her captors, as she stood "sobbing in terror," The Times reports.

The woman's captors were Russian nationals from North Ossetia, and when the Times reporters called an aide to a commander of the Ukrainian separatists, the Russian gunmen detained the journalists. When armed separatists arrived, the Russian gunmen handed over the reporters but took the woman away to an unknown fate. Go to the New York Times story to see a photo of the woman.