Oct 2, 2014 2:52 PM

Red Cross office hit by shells in Ukraine, 1 dead

The Associated Press

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) A Red Cross worker was killed by shelling in the rebel-held city of Donetsk, the aid group said Thursday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Laurent DuPasquier, a 38-year-old Swiss national, died when a shell landed near the group's office in the eastern Ukrainian city.

"We are deeply shocked by this tragic loss," Dominik Stillhart, the Geneva-based organization's director of operations, said in a statement.

DuPasquier had worked for the Red Cross for more than five years in Pakistan, Yemen, Haiti, Egypt and Papua New Guinea, before taking up his post in Ukraine six weeks ago.

"We understand that there were other civilian casualties in Donetsk today," Stillhart said. "Indiscriminate shelling of residential areas is unacceptable and violates international humanitarian law."

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement later on Thursday, saying the aid worker's death, along with the shelling of a school that killed an unspecified number of civilians, "underscore the fragility of the current cease-fire and the importance of ensuring a secure environment in south-eastern Ukraine that will allow humanitarian actors to carry out their work and deliver critical assistance to those most in need."

The rebels, who have exchanged fire with the Ukrainian government forces holed up in the Donetsk airport just north of the city, said the shelling came from the Ukrainian side.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin blamed the shelling on "terrorists."

The Red Cross didn't say who it thought might have fired the shell. The group has about 20 staff in Donetsk working to support hospitals, refugees and families torn apart by the conflict.


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