OSCE patrol vehicle hits mine in Ukraine, one dead

Miranda GreerApr 24, 2017

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said Sunday one of its United States monitors in Ukraine died after a patrol vehicle hit a landmine in the Russian-backed separatist east.It marked the first loss for the security body's Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) since Europe's only war broke out more than three years ago.

The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein. The patrol consisted of six members and two armored vehicles and was hit near the Pryshyb settlement.

Three years after Moscow annexed the Crimean region, tensions between Ukraine and separatists in the Russian-held eastern part of the country remain high.

The group was part of the Organization for the Security of Europe's (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine's war-torn eastern region.

Germany's foreign ministry said two were injured, but gave no immediate details. This includes a real and durable ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons, and disengagement from the line of contact.

"The conflict parties must also finally implement the long-agreed ceasefire", Merkel said in a statement.

The Russian foreign ministry responded that it was "deeply outraged" by what it called a bid by undisclosed forces to undermine efforts to bring peace to its western neighbour.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabrial expressed concern about the killing.

"Someone who just wanted to help create peace and put an end to the fighting has lost his life today", Gabrial said.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the killing underscored the increasingly unsafe conditions under which the OSCE mission operated, including grappling with "access restrictions, threats, and harassment".

"Need thorough investigation; those responsible will be held accountable", said Kurz.

Gabriel said the OSCE patrols had clearly prevented a more serious military escalation in recent years.

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