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First OSCE staff member killed in rebel east Ukraine

First OSCE staff member killed in rebel east Ukraine

An American member of the OSCE's monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine died Sunday and two others were wounded when their vehicle was blown up by a mine in the separatist Luhansk region.

An OSCE monitor died in a vehicle blast in LPR, the militia's press service told Luganskinformcenter on Sunday, TASS reports.

The OSCE team's 600 members in eastern Ukraine are the only independent monitoring mission in the devastated industrial war zone.

Tillerson accepted Poroshenko's condolences on the OSCE observer's death and the two leaders agreed that "this tragic 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 said. "This includes a real and durable ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons, and disengagement from the line of contact", the statement said.

The Russian foreign ministry responded that it was "deeply outraged" by what it called a bid by undisclosed forces to undermine efforts to bring peace to its western neighbour. It urged the parties to the conflict to intensify direct talks.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz called for an investigation of the incident and, in a tweet, said he had spoken to the mission's ambassador, Ertugrul Apakan.

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"Someone who just wanted to help create peace and put an end to the fighting has lost his life today", Gabrial said.

"It is in the interest of everyone involved, especially the conflict parties on the line of engagement, that OSCE observers are able to carry out their important, indispensable, and at once hard and unsafe work", Gabriel said.

A representative of the mission said its staff had previously come under fire at least seven times since the start of this year.

The organization said a monitoring mission in a patrol vehicle had hit a land-mine in rebel held territory.

The OSCE said it would not release the names of the casualties until their families had been notified.

Gabriel said the OSCE patrols had clearly prevented a more serious military escalation in recent years.

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