1 killed, 2 injured: Russia vows response to Ukraine shelling Russian city

RT | July 13, 2014

An artillery shell from Ukraine has hit a private house in the Rostov region of Russia, killing a citizen and leaving two more injured. The Russian Foreign Ministry promises heavy consequences.

Reportedly up to six mortar shells exploded on Sunday in the small Russian town of Donetsk, which has the same name as the Ukrainian city and is situated right on the Ukrainian border.

Ukraine’s charge d’affaires in Russia has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry where he was handed a note of protest in the strongest terms.

President Vladimir Putin voiced extreme concern over Ukraine’s offensive, adding that it is unacceptable for Ukrainian shells to reach Russia’s territory. The president said that such actions should be stopped, according to his press secretary, Dmitry Peskov. Putin met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday. The two leaders agreed that the situation in Ukraine in worsening and that it is necessary to resume the work of the international Contact Group on Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called the shelling “an obviously aggressive act” on Ukraine’s part and warned it could have “irreversible consequences” with Kiev holding full responsibility for the provocation.

Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin promised a “rigorous and concrete answer” to the shelling of Russian territory that resulted in the senseless loss of life.

“We’re currently evaluating the situation, and the facts we’ve learnt risk a dangerous escalation of the tensions on the [Russian-Ukrainian] border, which puts our citizens in high danger,” Karasin told RIA news agency, stressing that harsh reaction would follow only after detailed analysis of the situation.

The National Security Council of Ukraine has already declared that Kiev’s troops involved in the operation in the east of the country have nothing to do with the shelling incident.

“Ukrainian troops are definitely not shelling the territory of the Russian Federation. We did not shoot,” said Andrey Lysenko, official representative of the information center of the NSCU.

The leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) denied allegations of staging a provocation against Russian citizens.

“We’re accustomed to being blamed for all Ukrainian shellings,” DPR’s vice-PM Andrey Purgin told Russian ‘Moscow speaks’ radio station.

Authorities in the Rostov region have confirmed the death of a 46-year-old man and injuries to four civilians, including two elderly women.

A shell crater (RIA Novosti / Sergey Pivovarov)

The man who died in a shell explosion was a father of four. One of the injured women suffered a shell fragment wound in the leg; another woman, reportedly 80-years-old, was shell-shocked in her house across the street from the explosion site.

Russia’s Donetsk has a population of approximately 49,000 citizens and has the Donetsk-Izvarino border entry point in the city on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

There have been a number of incidents lately involving Ukrainian troops deliberately shelling Russian border posts.

On Saturday a vehicle, carrying a squad of Russian border guards, came under fire from the Ukrainian side at the frontier between Russia and Ukraine.

On June 28, mortar shells from Ukraine hit Russian territory, damaging a building at the Gukovo border checkpoint and creating potholes in the ground in two villages.

The week before, on June 20, the Russian Novoshakhtinsk checkpoint in the Rostov region was shelled by mortars, Russia’s Border Service said.

Law enforcement officers work at the area in the town of Donetsk in Russia’s Rostov Region which was hit by a high-explosive shell fired from the Ukrainian territory, July 13, 2014. (RIA Novosti / Sergey Pivovarov)

Until today’s fatality, there had been no casualties, except for one Russian border guard suffering a head wound from a shell fragment.

The Ukrainian army has sometimes shelled border checkpoints, while refugees from Ukraine were trying to get through passport control to find shelter on Russian territory.

The number of incidents involving Ukrainian artillery shelling on Russian territory has increased of late. On July 3, the Novoshakhtinsk border checkpoint was shelled again. The next day, engineers and investigators, who came to disarm unexploded ordnances on the Russian side, came under mortar fire from Ukraine at the Donetsk border checkpoint. On July 5, about ten mortar shells exploded near the same border checkpoint.

Law enforcement officers work at the area in the town of Donetsk in Russia’s Rostov Region which was hit by a high-explosive shell fired from the Ukrainian territory, July 13, 2014. (RIA Novosti / Sergey Pivovarov)



Ukraine’s shelling could have irreversible consequences, says Russia
Foreign ministry’s response comes after shell kills man and injures woman in Russian village of Donetsk
Shaun Walker in Moscow and Harriet Salem in Donetsk
The Guardian | Sunday 13 July 2014

Russian investigators examine a house after a Ukraine shell hit a residential area in Donetsk. Photograph: Sergei Pivovarov/AP

Russia‘s foreign ministry says the Ukrainian army is responsible for the shelling that killed a man inside Russian territory, warning that the incident could have "irreversible consequences".

Russian investigators say a man was killed and a woman injured when a shell fired from Ukrainian territory landed in the courtyard of a private house in the village of Donetsk, in Russia’s Rostov region.

"Naturally, this action will not be left without a corresponding reaction," the deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, said in a radio interview on Sunday. "The talk with the Ukrainian side on this issue is going to be serious and tough."

Over the weekend there was an escalation of both military action and rhetoric in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, as Ukrainian jets carried out air strikes against separatist positions. On Friday, 23 Ukrainian servicemen were killed in an attack using Grad missiles.

"For every soldier’s life, the militants will pay with dozens and hundreds of their own," said Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, after Friday’s attack.

The Ukrainian army retook a number of towns that had been controlled by separatists in the past fortnight, including the rebel stronghold of Slavyansk, from which hundreds of fighters fled.

The regional centres of Donetsk and Luhansk now contain the main concentration of separatist forces. As these are large conurbations, any attempt to take them back by force is likely to incur major civilian casualties.

On Sunday the streets of Donetsk were nearly deserted after two days of heavy artillery fire in which several civilians were killed.

Marinka, a nearby farming town, was hit with a barrage of artillery for the third day running. The assaults have caused large-scale destruction of apartment blocks, businesses and restaurants.

Who is responsible for the firing remains unclear: both sides have weapons within range of the positions that have come under fire. The Guardian witnessed a convoy of 100-plus Ukrainian military vehicles including multi-rocket launchers, tanks and armoured personnel carriers disappear into fields of sunflowers nine miles south-west of rebel positions on the city outskirts on Wednesday evening.

Vadislav Seleznev, the spokesperson for the government operation, has denied that the Kiev-backed forces are using artillery or air strikes in civilian areas and blamed rebel fire for the casualties.

On Sunday most buses and trains out of Donetsk were fully booked and residents in the areas of fighting could be seen thumbing lifts with whatever possessions they could carry. Tens of thousands are believed to have fled the fighting in region.

In Luhansk, the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic claimed it now had its own air force, made up of a single Su-25 fighter jet seized from the Ukrainian army. This could not immediately be confirmed.

As the violence increases, fears are mounting that Russia and Ukraine could be edging towards some kind of military confrontation again, after a period when it had appeared that the tension was decreasing.

"This incident is evidence of the very dangerous escalation of tension in the Russian-Ukrainian border area, and could have irreversible consequences, the responsibility for which lies with the Ukrainian side," said the foreign ministry’s official statement, referring to the shelling of Russian territory.

After Russia annexed Crimea, there were worries that Moscow might order an armed intervention in east Ukraine as well, but these fears were calmed last month when Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, asked parliament to rescind a declaration allowing him to use troops in Ukraine.

Nevertheless, a source close to the Kremlin in Moscow said he believed that while the decision had been taken not to intervene in Ukraine, this could change at any moment.

"I think all it would take would be one day where, say, 300 people are killed in the east and Putin will be simply obliged to act," said the source. "I don’t think you can rule it out yet, not at all."

Putin is in Brazil where he is due to watch the World Cup final on Sunday evening. Ukraine’s Poroshenko had also planned to attend the event but cancelled at the last minute, citing the deteriorating situation in the east.



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