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US Security Monitor In Ukraine Killed In Mine Explosion

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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An American member of a European security monitoring group was killed in a explosion in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region Sunday.

The U.S. man died after the car he was in with other monitors drove over a mine. Two others were also injured in the attack, according to Reuters. The group was part of the Organization for the Security of Europe’s (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine’s war-torn eastern region.

OSCE confirmed the “serious incident” Sunday. The patrol consisted of six members and two armored vehicles and was hit near the Pryshyb settlement. The OSCE did not provide details on the two injured persons. The Austrian foreign ministry confirmed that at least one of of the injured was a German national. Austria currently holds the presidency of the OSCE.

Ukraine’s Donbass region, which is comprised of the Luhanks and Donetsk regions, has been engaged in a civil war since 2014. Pro-Russian separatists, known as the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), have been fighting the Ukrainian government ever since. Russian forces have reportedly provided support to the Russian separatists, including ground forces and artillery fire.

The Russian foreign ministry claimed that the incident was likely a “provocation geared at breaking down the settlement process in Donbass.”

It is thus far unclear who was responsible for the mine placement, though Pro-Russian separatists control the Pryshyb settlement.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz both took to Twitter to call for an investigation into the incident.

“Need thorough investigation; those responsible will be held accountable,” said Kurz.

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