Global News

Global mission member killed in Ukraine blast

Global mission member killed in Ukraine blast

The monitoring mission assesses compliance with the two-year-old Minsk peace deal that was to bring a cease-fire and heavy weapons pullback to the region.

"The United States is shocked and deeply saddened by the death of a U.S. citizen serving as a paramedic with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM)", the statement read.

Austrian media say the vehicle was patrolling close to Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, when it drove on a mine.

American paramedic, and local Tucsonan, Joseph Stone, 36, was killed during a monitoring mission in Ukraine Sunday, April 23.

It was the first fatal incident to strike the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) mission during three years of work in eastern Ukraine, where fighting has killed about 10,000 people and displaced 1.5 million.

The other two observers in the vehicle along with Stone - one a woman from Germany, the other a Czech man - were injured in the blast but are in stable condition.

A 2015 ceasefire between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country is regularly violated, and Washington cites the conflict as a key obstacle to improved relations between Russia and the United States. It provides daily reports on the war and has angered insurgents for accusing them of being responsible for most truce agreement violations.

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The "contact line" is the de facto boundary between areas controlled by Ukraine government forces and the separatists.

The OSCE vehicle allegedly deviated from the main route into an unchecked side road, the Luhansk rebel government's press service said in a statement, adding that such a maneuver is prohibited by the mission's guidelines.

Neither one of the rebels' claims could be immediately confirmed.

At midnight on April 25, the Ukrainian Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry, as well as the Energorynok state company, cut power supplies to the LPR's territory.

The low-level hostilities in the European Union's backyard have been accompanied by regular casualties among civilians and fighters either stepping or driving on mines.

Ukraine's foreign ministry said the blast was an attempt to scare SMM observers.

Ukraine's government in Kyiv and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine have blamed each other for the land mine explosion.


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