OSCE mission in Donbas: Armed militants threaten to shoot OSCE observers

15:46 Jul. 30, 2016

Armed militants threaten to shoot OSCE observers

Russian-backed gunmen travel past a convoy of the OSCE mission in Ukraine outside the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine on July 30, 2014 (AP Photo)

Russian-backed forces continue blocking access to certain areas

Gunmen of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), which Ukraine considers a terrorist organization, threatened to kill the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) observers near the village of Lukove, the mission said in its report late on July 29.

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The incident happened when the monitors saw fresh tracks, assessed as caused by an infantry fighting vehicle leading south from DPR-controlled Lukove (72km south of Donetsk).

While following the tracks, the SMM was stopped by two armed DPR members who blocked the road with a camouflaged-style jeep, pointed their guns at the SMM, and ordered to leave the area. Several minutes later when leaving the area, a second camouflaged-style jeep approached at high speed, almost hit the lead SMM vehicle and blocked the way of the patrol.

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Other armed men jumped out of the second vehicle and pointed their guns at the first SMM vehicle in a very aggressive manner, one DPR member made a "cut throat" sign to the monitors and took photographs of both SMM vehicles and the drivers.

After that, the SMM was ordered to follow the DPR members to a checkpoint in Prymorske (76km south of Donetsk, 5km south of Lukove), keeping the monitors at the gunpoint.

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At the checkpoint in Prymorske, nine armed DPR members surrounded the first SMM vehicle, swearing and making threatening gestures. One armed DPR member stated twice that SMM members should be shot. Another militant twice struck the front left wing of the first patrol vehicle with his rifle butt leaving two dents.

Eventually, the SMM was released from the area and returned safely to its base in Mariupol.

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