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White House Condemns Killing of ICRC Staffer in Ukraine

The body of a victim killed by recent shelling lies near the Red Cross office in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Oct. 2, 2014.

The White House has condemned the killing in Ukraine of a Swiss staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In a statement Friday, the Obama administration called on all parties in Ukraine's conflict "to protect the civilians in their midst and hold accountable those who engage in the indiscriminate use of force.”

The death of 38-year-old Laurent DuPasquier was caused by a shell landing near the ICRC office in Donetsk on Thursday.

Fighting continued between Ukrainian government troops and separatists near the Donetsk airport Friday, threatening a declared cease-fire, while the two sides exchanged blame for the Swiss man's death.

Ukraine's foreign ministry Thursday blamed DuPasquier's death on shelling by "terrorists" -- meaning the separatists. Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko accused the Russian military of deploying drones over the airport to carry out reconnaissance and direct fire.

The deputy prime minister of the rebels' self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, Andrei Purgin, charged Friday that DuPasquier was killed by a rocket fired by government forces.

Moscow said the area of Donetsk where the Red Cross worker was killed "is under the control of the rebels and the shelling came from positions occupied by Ukrainian forces."

The White House statement urged "all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law.” It also reminded them to “ensure that its protections are afforded to the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations."

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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