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OSCE observers threatened at gunpoint in Luhansk region

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine reports that its observers were threatened with weapons by people presenting themselves as Ukrainian military near Lobacheve in Luhansk region
OSCE observers threatened at gunpoint in Luhansk region

“At 10:10 on 2 August, an armed man at a known Ukrainian Armed Forces position wearing military-style clothing with no markings stopped two SMM vehicles in government-controlled areas travelling east on the road from Lopaskyne (government-controlled, 24km north-west of Luhansk) to Lobacheve (government-controlled, 17km north-west of Luhansk).  When one of the SMM monitors stepped out of the vehicle to speak with the man, the latter chambered a round into his submachine gun (AKSU-74) and after removing the weapon’s safety, pointed it at the SMM monitor and put his finger on the trigger. Speaking in Russian, the armed man told the SMM “Stop. You are not going anywhere”, “ the SMM said in the report, Joinfo.ua reports.

“The SMM requested the armed man call his commander, which he did. Standing approximately two metres away, the man kept his gun pointed at the SMM monitor and spoke to someone in Russian on his handheld radio. Approximately five to seven minutes later, another man arrived at the scene carrying an assault rifle (AK-74) with a silencer. He was accompanied by three other armed men carrying assault rifles, some of whom appeared to be intoxicated, and appeared to be in a position of authority. Some of the men were dressed in military-style clothing. Using Russian and speaking in an aggressive manner, the man said that he and the other armed men present were members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The SMM monitor asked the man who appeared to be in charge to order the armed man to lower his weapon. He did so but the weapon was not made safe,” the observers reported.

According to the report, about fifteen minutes later the SMM was allowed to leave the area and proceed to Lobacheve to complete their tasks.

The SMM reported the incident to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination.

It should be recalled that on July 29, members of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ stopped vehicles of the OSCE SMM in Ukraine near militant-controlled Lukove village, Donetsk region, threatened them at gunpoint and said to leave the area.