Lugansk officials blame Ukraine and OSCE violations for observer’s death

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April 26, 2017 – Fort Russ News – 

By J. Arnoldski – 

On Sunday, April 23rd, an OSCE Special Monitoring Mission car was blown up along the Slavyanoserbsk-Sokolniki route in the area of the village of Prishib, Lugansk People’s Republic. While the Ukrainian side has blamed the incident on “separatist” disruption of the Minsk Agreements and urged the international community to deploy an armed peacekeeping mission to Donbass, the Lugansk People’s Republic has voiced its own account of events. 

The Ministry of State Security of the Lugansk People’s Republic has released a statement which reads: “On April 23rd, during the first half of the day, a land mine blew up an OSCE car on a country road in the village of Prishib in the Slavyanoserbsk district. One was killed and three were wounded. There were two crews in total, but the second OSCE vehicle was not affected. According to the official version of the Ministry of State Security of the LPR, this was an operation prepared by a Ukrainian reconnaissance and sabotage group.” 

The LPR’s authorized representative to the Minsk negotiations, Vladislav Deynego, has commented on the incident: “The circumstances are not yet clear, and an investigation is being conducted, but at the moment the following is clear. The car was driving along a country road between the residential areas of Prishib and Smeloe. First the patrol of two cars went in the direction of Smeloe, carried out some kind of assignments there, and, while on the way back, the main car was hit on the rear right wheel by a mine installed on the same road which both the local population, civilians, and I think our troops have repeatedly travelled. The body of the deceased has been handed over to OSCE representatives, and I escorted the group of OSCE cars including the carriage with the body to the crossing point in Popasnoy.”

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The press secretary of the “We won’t forget! We won’t forgive!” project of the Peace for Lugansk Movement, Sergey Belov, believes that there can be no doubt that this was Ukrainian handiwork: “Obviously this was all planned in advance to achieve a specific goal. There can be no doubt that this is the work of a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group, since they have for two years already tried to lobby the idea of deploying an armed mission to Donbass…Now they are using this situation in any way possible to push this idea at the international level. Of course, more can be said only after an objective investigation of this incident. We express our condolences to the family of the deceased and hope for a speedy recovery for those injured.” 

The LPR’s representative to the Contact Group’s working subgroup on humanitarian issues and the head of the LPR’s working group for exchanging prisoners of war, Olga Kobtseva, says that this was an OSCE mistake: “We have repeatedly warned the OSCE not to violate their mandate, and agree upon routes with us. Unfortunately, the crew deviated from the main route and moved across minor roads, which is prohibited by the OSCE SMM’s mandate. In order to find excuses for not fulfilling the Minsk Agreements, Ukraine has intensified sabotage and reconnaissance operations, as the LPR’s Ministry of State Security has repeatedly reported. The operations of sabotage and reconnaissance groups have already gone beyond all permissible limits and started blowing up OSCE patrol cars…Ukraine is using this incident to once again raise the question of deploying foreign armed missions to the LPR.”

Meanwhile, according to the LPR’s Ministry of Health, the wounded are in a “moderately severe state. Their condition is stable.” 

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In connection with the incident, European observers have been compelled to temporarily suspend their work on the territory of the LPR. 

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