Pro-Russia militia displays captured Ukrainians

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Ukrainian government troops guard a checkpoint near the village of Dolina, 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, April 26, 2014. Ukrainian authorities are undertaking a security operation to liberate the nearby city of Slovyansk, which is currently controlled by an armed pro-Russian insurgency. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Already holding a group of foreign military observers, the pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine captured three Ukrainian security service officers on Sunday and displayed them to journalists bloodied and blindfolded with packing tape.

The insurgents in the city of Slovyansk have increasingly turned to hostage-taking as they seek to cement their control in the east of the country.

On Friday they detained a group of eight foreign military observers traveling under the auspices of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. The self-proclaimed mayor of Slovyansk accused them of being NATO spies.

Ukraine's Security Service confirmed that its officers had been seized by armed men. The officers were on a mission to detain a Russian citizen suspected in the killing of a Ukrainian parliament member, the agency said in a statement.

Stripped of their trousers and shoes, the captive officers sat with heads bowed in the security service headquarters in Slovyansk early Sunday.

Igor Strelkov, who has been identified as the commander of the armed insurgents, said the three Ukrainian officers were on a mission to seize leaders of the pro-Russia force when they were captured.