OSCE Delegation Confirms That It Came Under Fire in Donbass

© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresensky / Go to the photo bankA delegation from the OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has confirmed that a mortar shell fell near two vehicles carrying five of its observers.
A delegation from the OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has confirmed that a mortar shell fell near two vehicles carrying five of its observers. - Sputnik International
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A delegation from the OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has confirmed that a mortar shell fell near two vehicles carrying five of its observers.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed via its Twitter account on Sunday that "mortar fire struck near two cars belonging to the OSCE today on the south side of the bridge leading to Lugansk. The Special Monitoring Mission condemns the incident."

"The Special Monitoring Mission confirms that mortar fire struck near two cars belonging to the OSCE today on the south side of the bridge leading to Lugansk. The Special Monitoring Mission condemns the incident."

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The organization appears to confirm earlier reports by Lugansk-area news portal Lugansk Information Center that an OSCE delegation headed by OSCE envoy Toni Frisch came under Ukrainian army mortar attack near the town of Schastye, 15 km north of Lugansk. The town serves as the border between the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) and the part of the region under the control of the Ukrainian government.

A source familiar with the situation on the ground told Lugansk Information Center that "after the shelling by the Armed Forces of Ukraine stopped, Frisch decided to return to Lugansk."

LPR People's Militia also told the news hub that the OSCE representatives were forced to hide in dugouts and a sewer drainpipe over the course of two hours during the shelling. "Some of the [OSCE] observers, together with members of the People's Militia, took refuge in dugouts, with others taking cover in a sewer pipe in order to avoid being hit by shrapnel," a People's Militia source told Lugansk Information Center. The source added that the OSCE officials unsuccessfully attempted to call someone in a bid to stop the shelling.

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Frisch, who serves as the Coordinator of the Ukraine Humanitarian Subgroup, had arrived in LPR for a two day visit on Saturday, ostensibly in order to assess the humanitarian situation with his own eyes, to speak with local leaders and the population, and to examine the destruction of the water supply system in the city of Lugansk and other population centers in the region, including northern areas under the control of Ukrainian forces. 

The subgroups on political, economic, security and humanitarian issues were outlined in the Minsk ceasefire agreement worked out by the so-called Normandy quartet of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine and signed by the parties to the Ukrainian conflict.

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