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Ukraine refuses to admit that it shelled Russian territory

The Russian foreign policy department expressed protest to Ukraine’s charge d’affaires in Russia over the shelling

KIEV, July 13, /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine has refused to admit that it shelled Russian territory. The country’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Sunday in which it said that Ukrainian soldiers did not deliver fire in the region mentioned by Russia.

“Ukrainian servicemen have never shelled, are not shelling and will not shell territories of a neighboring state or residential quarters,” the statement said.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expressed its condolences “over the death and injuries of Russian nationals in the town of Donetsk in [the southern Russian] Rostov Region.”

The Ukrainian army shelled the Russian town of Donetsk on the border between the two countries with high-explosive projectiles early on Sunday. A shell hit a private house killing one Russian resident and seriously wounding another two.

The Russian foreign policy department expressed protest to Ukraine’s charge d’affaires in Russia over the shelling.

“On the same day, the Ukrainian charge d’affaires in the Russian Federation was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry, where the Russian side expressed its resolute protest to him,” it said.

“The note handed to the diplomat states that the Russian side regards this provocation as a regular aggressive act of the Ukrainian side against sovereign Russian territory and citizens of the Russian Federation,” the ministry said.

“It was stressed that the mentioned incident testifies to an extremely dangerous escalation of tensions in the area of the Russian-Ukrainian border and may have irreversible consequences responsibility for which will lie with the Ukrainian side,” the statement said.

“The Russian side once again insists that the Ukrainian side adopt decisive steps to stop such provocations,” it said.

Troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions are still involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.

During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry, 478 civilians have been killed and 1,392 wounded in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled Southeast.

South Ossetia has recognized the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic. No other countries have followed suit so far.