Mon | Aug 21, 2017

American monitor killed in Ukraine when mine hits vehicle

Published:Monday | April 24, 2017 | 4:00 AM

MOSCOW (AP):

An American member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation's (OSCE) monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine died yesterday and two others were wounded when their vehicle was blown up by a mine in the separatist Luhansk region.

The mission's deputy head, Alexander Hug, said the member killed was from the US and the two wounded were from Germany and the Czech Republic. Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Ministry, earlier said on social media that the man who was killed was a British citizen, but later deleted the post.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who holds the rotating chairmanship of the OSCE in Europe, called for an investigation into the blast and said on Twitter that "those responsible will be held accountable".

The self-proclaimed security ministry for the Russia-backed separatist rebels in Luhansk said the mine had been laid by Ukrainian forces. The rebels and the Ukrainian government have been fighting in eastern Ukraine since 2014 in a war that has killed more than 9,900 people.

The monitoring mission assesses compliance with the two-year-old Minsk peace deal that was to bring a ceasefire and heavy weapons pullback to the region. It also conducts work on human-rights and civil-society issues, as well as mine-awareness programmes.