An American paramedic traveling with a patrol group tasked with monitoring eastern Ukraine died Sunday morning after an explosion hit the group's vehicle, according to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The paramedic served as a patrol member of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, assigned to oversee the going-ons in a volatile area rocked by Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian armed forces.
This is the first time an SMM patrol member has died on duty, OSCE Secretary-General Lamberto Zannier said, according to CNN. The blast was believed to be caused by a land mine.
The victim’s identity has not yet been released.
Two other monitors, a German and a Czech national, were injured in the explosion, which occurred in the Luhansk region.
"This appalling incident underlines the increasingly dangerous security environment the SMM monitors are working in every day," Zannier said. "All sides are responsible for the safety and security of the OSCE monitors."
About 600 members comprise the OSCE’s team in eastern Ukraine, which works as an independent monitoring group in the war zone.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted that there needs to be an investigation into the death of the OSCE monitor.
Both Russia and the U.S. have blamed one another for the death, according to Yahoo.