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Ukrainian Separatist Leader Released By Rebels After Four-Day Detention

Ukrainian rebel leader Andrei Purgin (file photo)
Ukrainian rebel leader Andrei Purgin (file photo)

Rebels in eastern Ukraine have released a separatist leader from detention after holding him captive for four days.

Andrei Purgin told the Reuters news agency that he was freed by rebel gunmen on September 8 in the Donetsk region.

He said he was kept in a cell at a "security ministry" since being taken at gunpoint on September 4 while travelling in a car after returning from Russia.

Purgin -- who was reportedly dismissed on September 4 as head of the self-declared parliament of the Donetsk People's Republic -- said he did not understand why he was detained.

"I haven't figured out what they wanted," he said.

Purgin has been a prominent representative of the rebels since fighting erupted in some parts of eastern Ukraine in April 2014.

He was also involved in peace talks in Minsk involving France, Germany, and Russia.

But Purgin was reportedly considered as hard-line among the separatist leadership and opposed to some of the key points of the Minsk cease-fire agreement.

More than 7,900 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes because of the Ukraine conflict.

Based on reporting by Reuters