Alexander Hug regarding monitor’s death in Luhansk region: OSCE vehicle most likely hit a mine


OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) is investigating the explosion in Luhansk region which resulted in death of the mission monitor, Joseph Stone. The tragedy happened on April 23, when an SMM team consisting of two armored vehicles was returning from a patrol driving back the same road they had driven two hours earlier, which they also used the previous days. There is no full detail on what caused this explosion, but it was likely a mine, reported Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Alexander Hug at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “What happened was not an accident. It was the use of an indiscriminate weapon. A weapon intentionally placed in that location to injure, maim or kill someone. […] There are disgraceful speculations that somehow the OCSE is to be blamed for the tragedy, as the patrol should never have been in that location. Our mandate says that we are meant to have full and unhindered access everywhere, with no exceptions,” emphasized Hug. Since the beginning of 2016, SMM has recorded and verified 141 cases of civilian casualties related to mines, unexploded ordnance or improvised explosive device – 96 people wounded and 45 deaths.

Last week SMM observed a reduction in level of violence, though this decrease was minimal. “Around one third of ceasefire violations happened in Avdiivka – Yasynuvata – Donetsk airport triangle, 25 % in Popasna – Troitske – Pervomaisk area, and most of the remainder – in areas south of Svitlodarsk and east of Mariupol,” said Hug. The reduction was noticeable in terms of use of Minsk proscribed weapons.  “Last week we recorded 55 % fewer explosions attributable to the proscribed weapons compared to the previous week. Despite the decrease, the SMM again observed damage to civilian property in populated areas on both sides of the contact line,” added Principal Deputy Chief Monitor.