While bodies of killed Ukrainian soldiers were being transferred to Ukraine from the “LPR”, an OSCE SMM observer greeted a man working for “LPR” militants with a pat on the back and phrase “Hey, buddy!” in Russian. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine commented on the occurrence on their Facebook.
“The man the SMM monitoring officer is seen to greet is a member of an organization involved in exhumations, and the transfer/exchange of bodies and prisoners/detainees; the monitoring officer in question has worked alongside this individual and organization since 2015 to ensure captured combatants can return home, or that grieving families can find some degree of closure following the loss of loved ones,” the Mission notes.
It is also stated that the move was “a lapse in judgment on the part of the monitoring officer” and that it will be addressed internally.
“The gesture was an involuntary one, typical of many people who have previously served in the armed forces; it does not in any way suggest endorsement or even sympathy for any position or viewpoint. It certainly does not detract from the important work the monitoring officer and his colleagues were engaged in at the time,” the mission summed up.