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Ukrainian military impede work of international observers with Russian citizenship

April 28, 2:58 UTC+3 VIENNA

Russia’s deputy OSCE envoy Dmitry Balakin dismissed attempts to accuse eastern Ukraine militia of impeding the free movement of international observers in East Ukraine

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VIENNA, April 27. /TASS/. Ukrainian servicemen regularly check the nationality of members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (OSCE SMM) and pose various obstacles to monitors with Russian citizenship, Russia’s deputy OSCE envoy said Thursday.

At a meeting of the organization’s Permanent Council in Vienna, Russia’s deputy OSCE envoy Dmitry Balakin dismissed attempts to accuse eastern Ukraine militia of impeding the free movement of international observers in the region.

"Attempts to establish the nationality of observers, as well as denial of access to facilities housing military hardware, have become routine for Ukrainian servicemen. For example, on April 10 the Armed Forces of Ukraine said they would not allow observers with Russian citizenship to a military depot," Balakin said.

"On April 23, two drunk Ukrainian servicemen, one of them armed, demanded in an aggressive manner that observers reveal their personal information and leave an armored SUV," the diplomat added.

He said that Russia condemns the April 23 blast of an SMM OSCE vehicle in Ukraine, in which one observer was killed and two injured.

"With high probability, it was a deliberate provocation intended to undermine the conflict settlement process in Donbass," he said. "An immediate, thorough, unbiased and objective investigation into the incident must be carried out. It is important that all interested parties - the OSCE, the authorities of Ukraine and certain areas of the Lugansk Region, the Contact Group - were involved."

According to Balakin, the mission has tried to raise the issue of mines and unexploded ordnances in Donbass and pointed at minefields surrounding the Kiev government’s roadblocks in eastern Ukraine. However, despite these attempts, the explosive devices remained in place.

On April 23, an OSCE SMM car drove over a mine near the village of Prishib in the Lugansk People’s Republic. As a result, an American paramedic was killed and another two observers, citizens of the Czech Republic and Germany, were injured. According to the LPR security sources, "a Ukrainian secret subversive group was active" in the Prishib area.

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