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Russian Foreign Ministry slams OSCE car incident in Donbass as 'provocation'

The ministry has described deadly incident with an OSCE SMM car as a provocation aimed at breaking down the settlement process in Donbass

MOSCOW, April 23. /TASS/. Russia’s foreign ministry has described Sunday’s deadly incident with an OSCE SMM (Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine) car as a provocation.

"The circumstances of the incident indicate a high probability of a provocation geared at breaking down the settlement process in Donbass. Obviously, such incidents and the general escalation of tensions are in the interests of those who are reluctant to implement political, economic and humanitarian provisions of the Minsk Package of Measures," the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The Russian foreign ministry called on the parties to the conflict to embark on a direct dialogue that is to result in the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

"Once again, we call for more active direct talks between the parties to the conflict, i.e. Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk, within the Contact Group to ensure complete implementation of the Package of Measures [on the implementation of the Minsk agreements] which is the only basis for the Donbass settlement," the ministry said.

The ministry expressed sincere condolences to the family of the US citizen, an employee of a medical company working under a contract with the OSCE, who was killed in the incident. The ministry also wished soonest recovery to those injured and called for a thorough and unbiased investigation of the incident. "We are resentful at this cynical action that claimed a human live and that was aimed against the international monitors working there for the sake of peace. We call for a thorough and objective investigation and demand those responsible be called to justice," the ministry said.

"This incident has revealed an acute necessity to duly ensure security for OSCE monitors, which is fixed in the mission’s mandate and has been noted by the Normandy Four leaders more than once, including during their latest telephone conversation on April 17," the ministry stressed.

A patrol car of the OSCE SMM drove into a mine near the village of Prishib in the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR). The mission said one monitor had been killed and two more had been wounded. OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Sebastian Kurz said in a conversation with the Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM to Ukraine Ertugul Apakan that the incident needs a thorough investigation.

According to the LPR’s militias, the patrol car deviated from its route. The LPR Ministry of State Security said a Ukrainian subversive group was behind the incident.