Photo from UNIAN

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine says that mine clearance in Donbas is a key step on the road to peace.

As reported in a press release of April 23, 2021, Chief Monitor of the OSCE SMM to Ukraine Y. Halit Çevik today paid tribute to SMM medic Joseph Stone, who was tragically killed in 2017 when an SMM armored vehicle was struck by an explosion, most likely caused by an anti-tank mine in a non-government controlled area near Pryshyb in Luhansk region.

"We mourn the loss of a colleague and friend, but we also pay tribute to a life committed to the cause of peace in eastern Ukraine," Çevik said.

Mines, unexploded ordnance and other explosive objects have claimed the lives of 82 civilians and have injured an additional 241 since then, he said.

"Clearing or at a minimum marking off these deadly objects is both a key step on the road to peace and a lasting legacy to a brave medic who made the ultimate sacrifice," he added.

Background

  • On April 23, 2017, an SMM patrol vehicle was blown up by a landmine in Luhansk region. OSCE SMM medic, U.S. citizen Joseph Stone was killed, while another two monitors from Germany and the Czech Republic were injured.
  • The U.S. State Department said they were shocked by the death of their citizen and called on Russia to use its influence with the armed formations to enable the OSCE to conduct a full, transparent and timely investigation of the incident.