Ukraine has launched an investigation into the death of an American working for the European security watchdog OSCE, whose vehicle hit a landmine in the country’s conflict-hit east, the general prosecutor’s office (GPU) said on Monday. The paramedic was on an OSCE monitoring mission patrol near the village of Pryshybin, controlled by pro-Russian separatists, in the Luhansk region when the blast occurred. The United States called for a transparent, timely investigation.
Regional prosecutors in the government-controlled part of Luhansk will handle the probe. The GPU said Ukraine was treating the incident, which wounded two others, as a “terrorist act”.
Sunday’s killing was the first death of a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Ukraine, where over 700 observers report on the three-year-old conflict that has strained ties between Russia and the West. In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also called for a careful investigation into the incident, saying those guilty should be brought to justice.
The OSCE mission’s ambassador, Ertugrul Apakan, who traveled to the site of the explosion on Monday, said both sides needed to respect the much-violated 2015 Minsk peace agreement. “I reiterate my call for sustainable cease-fire, withdrawal of weapons, full demining and real commitment to peace. And I ask that those responsible for placing mines are held accountable,” he said in a statement.
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