American monitor killed in Ukraine when mine blasts vehicle

Posted April 24, 2017

He also called for a thorough investigation, adding that "those responsible will be held accountable".

This week's meeting of the Minsk Group's security subcommittee, due in the Belarusian capital later this week, will be postponed over Sunday's blast of an OSCE mission vehicle in eastern Ukraine, a negotiator said Monday.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who also serves as the OSCE's chairman, wrote on Twitter: "Death of colleague is a shock to whole OSCE".

The OSCE team's 600 members in eastern Ukraine are the only independent monitoring mission in the devastated industrial war zone.

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The self-proclaimed security ministry for the Russia-backed separatist rebels in Luhansk said the mine had been laid by Ukrainian forces.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) employees look at protesters during a rally in front the OSCE mission in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on February 15, 2017.

"As information about this incident becomes available, it will be published on our social media channels".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted his reaction to the incident. "Its safety and freedom of action must be guaranteed".

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"The federal government expects that the parties to the conflict immediately do everything possible to ascertain how we reached this tragic point and who holds responsibility for it", she said.

An unnamed OSCE official told the AFP news agency that the explosion was "strong enough to penetrate an armoured vehicle".

A statement issued by the Lugansk separatists on their news site said the OSCE team had veered off the main road and was travelling along an unsafe route. They provide daily reports on fighting and have drawn criticism from the warring sides.

"We know that the mentioned crew deviated from the main route and moved along side roads, which is prohibited by the mandate of the OSCE SMM", the LPR press service specified.

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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.