U.S. State Department comments on deadly incident with OSCE SMM patrol vehicle in Donbas

The United States is shocked and deeply saddened by the death of a U.S. citizen serving as a paramedic with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), when his vehicle struck an explosive in a militant-controlled controlled area in eastern Ukraine, according to the U.S. Department of State.

”The United States urges Russia to use its influence with the separatists to allow the OSCE to conduct a full, transparent, and timely investigation,” reads the statement by Acting Spokesperson Mark Toner.

”We extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones, and we wish a quick recovery for those injured in the blast,” Toner said. ”This death underscores the increasingly dangerous conditions under which these courageous monitors work, including access restrictions, threats, and harassment.”

”The incident makes clear the need for all sides – and particularly the Russian-led separatist forces – to implement their commitments under the Minsk Agreements immediately,” the statement reads. ”This includes a real and durable ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons, and disengagement from the line of contact.”

Mark Toner reiterated full support of the United States for the OSCE mission and said that ”we condemn in the strongest terms all acts of hostility and intimidation toward SMM monitors.”

”They must also have safe, full, and unfettered access throughout the conflict zone,” the statement reads.

”The United States again calls upon Russia to use its influence with the separatists to take the first step toward peace to eastern Ukraine and ensure a visible, verifiable, and irreversible improvement in the security situation,” Mark Toner said.

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