"It is with great sadness that I learned about the mining disaster in the Ukrainian region of Donetsk, which cost the lives of more than 60 miners," said today Halvdan Skard, President of the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, after a methane gas explosion in a mine in Ukraine, according to a CE press-release.

"This terrible tragedy highlighted once again the need for stringent application of safety measures and for greater involvement of local and regional authorities in ensuring work safety and preventing such disasters from happening.

"On behalf of the Congress, I wish to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who perished, our solidarity with the people and authorities of Donetsk in these days of mourning, and our hopes that the miners still trapped underground will be found alive," he said.