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OSCE To Launch Investigation Into Deadly Explosion In Eastern Ukraine
29 April, 2017

What You Need To Know:

✅ The OSCE announced that it will launch an investigation into the explosion of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) vehicle that killed one patrol member and injured two others;

✅ “As of this stage I can confirm that the vehicle that hit the explosive—which was most likely a mine—was traveling on the road at the time it hit this explosive device”– Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM;

✅ Work has resumed for the SMM, but it will likely never be the same after this incident;

✅ “We don’t treat this as an accident—Joseph Stone died through the use of an indiscriminate weapon.”

The Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) announced that the organization will launch an investigation into the explosion of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) vehicle that killed one patrol member and injured two others. Joseph Stone, an American paramedic died after the car hit an explosive near Pryshyb in the Luhansk region, in the vicinity of the internationally-established contact line between governmental and Russian-backed separatist forces.

“As of this stage I can confirm that the vehicle that hit the explosive—which was most likely a mine—was traveling on the road at the time it hit this explosive device,” says Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM.

The SMM itself will not be involved with conducting the investigation, but will cooperate with the processes triggered by the tragic incident.

Photo: EPA/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO

Hug spoke highly of the victim: “He was a paramedic who helped the Mission’s members to be saved and accompanied our patrols on these difficult routes they are taking along the contact line to document the security situation in these areas.” Stone’s body is still in Ukraine, and formalities are being processed to ensure repatriation as fast and as dignified as possible.

“The SMM will never be the same after April 23rd,” explains Hug. While the work of the Mission has resumed, now patrols only patrol on hard surfaces, workers remain in close contact with colleagues, and a psychologist has been deployed with the team.

Photo: EPA/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO

“We don’t treat this as an accident—Joseph Stone died through the use of an indiscriminate weapon,” concludes Hug. The organization is hopeful that the incident will not only bring those responsible to justice, but will also prevent other such tragedies from occurring.

Alexander Hug, Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine spoke to Hromadske via Skype on April 29, 2017 in Kyiv.