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ICRC not withdrawing from Ukraine due to death of its staff member

October 05, 2014, 4:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
CRC secretary in Ukraine Alina Murzayeva said that ICRC would suspend its activity in the country
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© TASS / Alexei Slavny, file

MOSCOW, October 5. /TASS/. The International Committee of the  (ICRC) will not wind down its operation in Ukraine, despite the death of its staff member in Donetsk, ICRC secretary in Ukraine Alina Murzayeva told TASS on Sunday.

She said that ICRC would suspend its activity in the country.

The ICRC operational activities have been suspended after the incident with the death of the organisation’s staff member in Donetsk, she said. The priority is to take the body of the killed colleague to his family, she added.

She also said the ICRC would remain in Ukraine, only its active operation phase has been suspended for several days.

The ICRC staff member - Laurent DuPasquier, 38-year-old Swiss national, working as an administrator in the Donetsk city ICRC office, was killed on October 2 by a shell explosion. Mr. DuPasquier worked for the ICRC for more than five years, carrying out assignments in Pakistan, Yemen, Haiti, Egypt and Papua New Guinea. He started his posting in Ukraine six weeks ago, ICRC said in a release.

“We are deeply shocked by this tragic loss,” ICRC Director of Operations Dominik Stillhart said on October 2. “We understand that there were other civilian casualties in Donetsk today. Indiscriminate shelling of residential areas is unacceptable and violates international humanitarian law.”

The ICRC currently has about 20 staff in Donetsk, including five expatriates of various nationalities. All other ICRC staff are now in safety.

The ICRC has been working in Ukraine since the onset of the crisis this year, supporting hospitals, helping displaced and vulnerable people, and restoring contact between family members separated by the conflict.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that Moscow insists on an objective investigation of the ICRC staff member death in Donetsk and bringing to justice those responsible.

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