First casualties of OSCE mission in Donbas: land mine blast kills one, injures another

"Spontaneous rally" against armed OSCE mission in Luhansk on 10 October, 2016. Photo: Youtube

"Spontaneous rally" against armed OSCE mission in Luhansk on 10 October, 2016. Photo: Youtube 

News, War in the Donbas

Today, on April 23, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine reported its first casualties in the Donbas since the mission was deployed to Ukraine in 2014. One staff member had died after a patrol vehicle hit a landmine near the Russian-occupied village of Pryshyb, 30 km northwest of Luhansk. Two more members of the Mission have been reportedly taken to hospital for further medical examination, at least one of them was injured according to later reports.

Location of the incident on the map:

Pryshyb village on the occupied territory in Luhansk Oblast. Map: LiveUAMap

Pryshyb village on the occupied territory in Luhansk Oblast. Map: LiveUAMap

Foreign Minister of Austria and current chairman of the OSCE Sebastian Kurz wrote on Twitter, “Tragic news from Ukraine: SMM patrol drove on mine. One OSCE patrol member killed,” and added, “Need thorough investigation; those responsible will be held accountable.”

Ukraine’s part to the Joint Coordination and Control Centre (JCCC) said that the incident took place at 10:17 EET (07:17 GMT) near the village of Pryshyb controlled by the Russian-hybrid forces, “there were fatalities and wounded” among the SMM monitors.

A Ukrainian Foreign Ministry official has confirmed the fatality to RFE/RL and said that the person killed in the blast was an American paramedic.

Member of Parliament Anton Herashchenko stated it was British citizen Joseph Stone who died in landmine blast, however Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Alexander Hug refuted the information, he said an American citizen was killed, two more members of OSCE patrol, Czech and German citizens, were taken to hospital.

A representative of so-called “Luhansk police force” told AFP that two OSCE vehicles were traveling in the Russian-controlled region when “one of them hit an anti-tank mine,” the occupation authorities accused the monitors of veering off the main road and traveling along an unsafe route not agreed with Russian and Ukrainian representatives.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel 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,” Gabriel said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko instructed Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin to keep the OSCE informed of Kyiv’s investigation into the blast. “This crime must be investigated and the guilty punished without fail,” the Ukrainian leader wrote on Facebook.

The spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted:

The Canadian ambassador to Ukraine wrote:


Update 20:40:

OSCE briefs on incident

Video of a news briefing held by Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Alexander Hug today in Kyiv at 20:00:

Mr. Hug confirmed that one OSCE patrol member was killed this morning, two more were taken to hospital.

The OSCE has published its statement later today. The statement reads:

LUHANSK, 23 April 2017 – A paramedic who was part of a patrol of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) died and two SMM monitors were taken to hospital today after their vehicle was heavily damaged by an explosion near Pryshyb in the non-government controlled Luhansk region. Austrian Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Sebastian Kurz and OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier both extend their most heartfelt condolences to the family and relatives of the individual who died as well as to the SMM team as a whole. They also express solidarity with the monitors who were injured and wish them a speedy recovery.


Update 21:40:

MFA: The incident is a confirmation of Moscow’s and its puppets’ attempts to intimidate the OSCE

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has published a comment in connection with the death and injury of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission observers in Ukraine. The Ministry considers the incident “a confirmation of Moscow’s and its puppets’ attempts to intimidate the OSCE and nullify the efforts of Ukraine and the SMM to stabilize the situation on the contact line.

“We call on Russia to fulfill its obligations under the Minsk agreements, to take all urgent measures in order to immediately stop provocations against OSCE observers, and to ensure full security of the SMM and its unhindered access to all occupied territory, including to the temporarily uncontrolled sections of the Ukrainian-Russian border. Ukraine will do everything possible to ensure an immediate, full and impartial investigation of the crime in order to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the comment reads.


 

  • The unarmed civilian OSCE mission with about 700 international observers was deployed in 2014.
  • The Mission seeks to reduce tensions and report on the situation on the ground in Ukraine.  The role of the monitors includes verifying the withdrawal of heavy weapons as agreed under so-called Minsk-2, the 2015 ceasefire agreement.
  • Ukraine’s defense ministry said Thursday that the mine-contaminated area is now estimated at 700,000 hectares, it will take between 10 and 15 years to clear it from the unexploded ordnance, only 3,000 of the 700,000 hectares had been cleared of the various types of landmines. 
  • Russia’s invasion of Eastern Ukraine has cost about 10,000 lives and internally displaced 1.5 million people.

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  • veth

    Putler is an murderer!

  • W8post

    GOOD! this is the ONLY way those idiots of the OSCE MIGHT understand the seriousness of the situation in this part of Ukraine. So far the OSCE is running around like ostriches with their heads deep into fertile Ukrainian soil. May this accident finally wake them up!
    What’s the use of their presence? Did it stop any ‘Humanitarian’ convoy entering Ukraine? Did [does] it stop violence against Ukrainian citizens in both puppet republics?
    OSCE have an ‘observation’ status. Now they have observed that the terrorists/occupants are using landmines (against ANY international convention); now wait and see what OSCE are going to do about that. (I think) OSCE are going to protest against the use of landmines and…??? NOTHING! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5cde748282acd288dac9faf20ad7e66136d3406fd0f611eaa26916c2991d1cfa.jpg

    • dref

      “What’s the use of their presence?”

      Their job is to “monitor” the “situation”, they are gathering information during those patrols. It is no secret that for the most part they belong to intelligence services… Now the real question is who placed this mine on that road and whether if it was intentionally targeting this convoy? that we will most probably never know…

      • Alex George

        Their job is not to monitor the situation, but to look for ceasefire violations and report them when they occur.

        Of course that is only of use when both sides are genuinely committed to achieving a ceasefire, and Russia never has been.

        Is it “no secret” that they mostly belong to intelligence services?

        • dref

          Indeed “no secret” since its public information…

          • Brent

            And with this supposedly “public information” a Russian tv channel had a news crew on scene in 3 minutes…before any first responders could attend…

            I’m curious. Does it hurt to have your cranium lodged up your wrecktum that deeply or does being a paid useful idiot for Putin ease the pain enough for your loss of dignity ?

          • dref

            “And with this supposedly “public information” a Russian tv channel had a news crew on scene in 3 minutes…before any first responders could attend…”

            What about doing some research before making such statement?

            is Ukraine today a Russian channel?

            Since i’m not biased like you, here is the other side of the coin:

            http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-russia-spy-idUSKCN0ZY27V

            I’m curious, does this qualify for public information to you?

            as for the second part of your comment, it looks like some formatted message you’ve been told by your master.
            As opposed to you i don’t answer to any master, my comment are always based on research and facts, the world more complex than black and white, I think by myself, I’m a free man.

          • Brent

            Sure you’re not biased “Comrade Dref”….by the way, “Ukraine Today” is no longer active…and you really should read the story you just posted!!! The Ukrainian national that Russia “alleged” was a spy working for the OSCE, was picked up on Russian soil. The OSCE is not actively monitoring anything on Russian soil. Just the Eastern part of Ukraine that Russia invaded….and that story is not even relevant to the OSCE observer Russia’s terrorists murdered in Eastern Ukraine!!! More “Russian misdirection”….. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/485c1ffe9e4d5913990b033311b91250c5102d1e2ed3946818b67c2ed2624f9b.jpg

            You Russian stooges just make this so easy to mock you!!!

          • dref

            It’s very hard to follow you since you don’t provide any argument back…replying in the middle of night might not be the best idea either, or are you based in the US?

            Anyway, you do realize that throwing up stuff like that without any argumentation will never convince anybody except yourself?

            We went indeed went far away from the subject of this article, i wonder who trolled me into that direction?

            I really had a good laugh at the picture, is this really the best you can do? you are posting this every 10 comments, try to get more creative this is not fun or are you paid per comment?

            Time to improve your game or get a real job because almost 20,000 comments in 3 years waoooww you must have a busy life :)

            Thanks again for the good laugh.

          • Brent

            Guess again “Comrade Dref”….41 comments…..7 upvotes….yeah, you’ve got a following….and 3 years after it started you finally realized there was a war in Ukraine that you’re “amazing life” kept you too busy to comment on before….good job keeping up with current events “Skippy” !!!

            Maybe you should go back to comment on toys little boy and leave the World Issues to the adults to discuss so you stop embarrassing yourself….let me guess…..you recently found yourself a Russian mail order bride and she convinced you to support Fuehrer Putler???

            You voting for Le Pen in the next round? She’s not going to share any of the 9 million Euro bribe/loan she got from Putin with you

          • dref

            Still very hard to follow your thought. You won’t convince anyone with such arguments, Its obvious that you are addicted, you need your dose every 5min in order to feel better and avoid falling back into a depressive state. Its entirely up to you if you want to open up and ends this addiction combined most probably with an obsession.
            Hopefully soon you will realize that what you do is pointless and only feeds your addiction, and like drug you end up increasing the dosis…
            I sincerly hope it helps (no sarcasm) no doubt you will pass this period in your life and move on to more real interaction that will fullfill you. Ciao

        • W8post

          if the only reason of their presence (OSCE) is monitor the cease fire, they might as well stay home, because EVERYONE [media] can see there is not such a thing as a cease fire…and. never has been.
          It saves a lot of money to keep those OSCE ‘observers’ out of the Donbas. (They’re not even allowed to ‘observe’ border movements!)

        • veth

          In 3 minutes after the attack an TV crew of RT was on the spot. Shows an set-up by the Russian Army.

      • Brent

        Can you explain why the OSCE allows Russia to contribute members to this mission in eastern Ukraine when everyone with a brain recognizes Russia is behind this invasion?

  • veth
  • Brent

    I suspect nothing will be said or come of this after our feeble Western leaders believe more of the coming Russian lies and misdirection. Alexander “Hug-a-thug” has shown no willingness to confront Russia’s continuing and egregious violations of the Minsk Agreements they signed and instead keeps “blaming Ukraine for being invaded”

    Out leaders have let Putin murder 298 innocent people aboard MH17. Hundreds of Syrians have been gassed with Russian support of Assad and now we hear Russia supplied the Taliban with weapons to murder 140 Afghan soldiers so why would one innocent OSCE victim change their feeble minds and suddenly give them backbones to stand up to “Osama bin Putin”?