News / Europe

Russia Warns Ukraine After Man Killed Across Border

A sapper, center, carries a deactivated 120mm mortar shell after a defusing operation in the village of Semenovka, eastern Ukraine, July 13, 2014.
A sapper, center, carries a deactivated 120mm mortar shell after a defusing operation in the village of Semenovka, eastern Ukraine, July 13, 2014.
VOA News

Russia threatened Ukraine on Sunday with “irreversible consequences” after a man was killed by a shell fired across the border from Ukraine, an incident Moscow described in warlike terms as aggression that must be met with a response.

Although both sides have reported cross-border shootings in the past, it appears to be the first time Moscow has reported fatalities on its side of the border in the three-month conflict that has killed hundreds of people in Ukraine.

Russia has made repeated claims that settlements along its porous border with Ukraine - which the West and Kyiv say is a key supply route for the rebels - have been hit by Ukrainian fire, but no deaths have been previously reported.

Members of a Russian investigative committee examine a house after shelling in Donetsk, Russia, July 13, 2014.Members of a Russian investigative committee examine a house after shelling in Donetsk, Russia, July 13, 2014.
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Members of a Russian investigative committee examine a house after shelling in Donetsk, Russia, July 13, 2014.
Members of a Russian investigative committee examine a house after shelling in Donetsk, Russia, July 13, 2014.

Kyiv called the accusation its forces had fired across the border “total nonsense” and suggested the attack could have been the work of rebels trying to provoke Moscow to intervene on their behalf.

The rebels denied they were responsible.

Fighting near Luhansk

Meanwhile, Russian and Ukrainian news reports say Ukraine forces attacked the perimeter of the rebel-controlled city of Luhansk Sunday with armored columns, pushing into the outskirts of the city but failing to recapture it.

Few details were reported.  But rebels and residents near the Russian border were quoted as saying the attacks occurred just south and west of the city. 

A correspondent for Russia's Rossiya 24 state television said 90 Ukraine tanks and armored personnel carriers spearheaded the attacks, and that rebels countered with tanks and other military hardware seized in previous fighting.

Residents and pro-Russian separatists said the city of of 425,000 remained under rebel control late Sunday.

Hardening positions

Talks between Russia and Ukraine over a cease-fire between the rebels and Kyiv's troops have stalled in recent weeks, as Ukrainian troops have succeeded in pushing insurgents out of key towns in the east.

Moscow's harsh response to the cross-border shelling raises the renewed prospect of overt Russian intervention, after weeks in which Putin had appeared intent on disengaging.

Russia sent Ukraine a note of protest describing the incident as “an aggressive act by the Ukrainian side against sovereign Russian territory and the citizens of the Russian Federation,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement warning of “irreversible consequences.”

“This represents a qualitative escalation of the danger to our citizens, now even on our own territory. Of course this naturally cannot pass without a response,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told Rossiya-24 TV.

Russia's Investigative Committee said a shell had landed in the yard of a house in a small town on the Russian side of the frontier, killing a man and wounding a woman. The Russian town is called Donetsk, sharing the name of the Ukrainian city of one million people that the rebels have declared capital of an independent “people's republic.”

'Total nonsense'

Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, said reports that Ukrainian forces were responsible were “total nonsense and the information is untrue.”

“The forces of the anti-terrorist operation do not fire on the territory of a neighboring country and they do not fire on residential areas,” he said. “We have many examples of terrorists carrying out provocation shooting, including into Russian territory, and then accusing Ukrainian forces of it.”

The rebels denied blame.

Interfax news agency quoted the rebels' self-proclaimed first deputy prime minister, Andrey Prugin, as saying he was “90 percent certain” it was Ukrainian troops that had fired across the border, because the rebels were short on ammunition and cautious about where they fired.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine erupted in April when armed pro-Russian fighters seized towns and government buildings, weeks after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in response to the overthrow of a pro-Moscow president in Kyiv.

Civilians on the move

The fighting has escalated sharply in recent days after Ukrainian forces pushed the rebels out of their most heavily-fortified bastion, the town of Slovyansk.

Ukraine's Donetsk, where rebels have gathered to regroup after a major Ukrainian offensive last week, was quiet on Sunday, many residents leaving for fear of increased fighting.

About 150 people from the settlement of Marynka, on the outskirts of the city, were moving into dormitories at a local university on Sunday, after their homes were bombarded during the night.

“Everybody here is sitting on a suitcase. People are only prevented from leaving by work - that is if they have any work. If they (the Ukrainian forces) are going to bomb, then I shall, of course, go, too,” said Olga, 35.

On the streets there are fewer and fewer cars. Some drivers no longer bother to stop at red lights since there are no police around and few vehicles.

Airstrikes on rebels

Ukrainian defense officials said Sunday that the air force had performed 16 sorties and carried out five airstrikes on rebel positions over the previous day.

Kyiv says Moscow has provoked the rebellion and allowed fighters and heavy weapons to cross the border with impunity. It has struggled to reassert control over the eastern frontier, recapturing border positions from rebels.

The conflict in Ukraine, which has claimed more than 550 lives and enflamed East-West ties, threatened to spiral into an all-out civil war over the weekend.

Militias that the West and Kyiv allege are being armed by the Kremlin used a Grad multiple-rocket system late Friday to mow down 19 Ukrainian soldiers and wound nearly 100 near the Russian border.

Further attacks killed 18 more troops and 20 civilians - 12 of them in what Kyiv said were missile and other overnight rebel strikes staged across the eastern rustbelt - in violence that appeared to shatter any hope of a truce.

The separatists' use of Grad systems - featured heavily in Russia's devastating assault on the Chechen capital Grozny in the 1990s - has underpinned the most recent charges that the Kremlin is directly involved in the insurgency.

Poroshenko has vowed to kill "hundreds" of gunmen for every lost soldier and ordered an air-tight military blockade of Luhansk and Donetsk - both self-proclaimed capitals of their own "People's Republics" that want to join Russia.

Kyiv said it killed hundreds of rebels in air strikes on Saturday, although there was no independent confirmation of such high casualties and the rebels denied suffering serious losses.

Armored convoy attacked

Ukrainian security spokesman Lysenko said on Sunday forces had used artillery to strike a convoy of about 100 armored vehicles and trucks after confirming that the convoy was carrying “a large number of recruits” into Ukraine from Russia.

He said seven Ukrainian service members had died in attacks in the east in the past day.

The Donetsk city council said in a statement on its website on Sunday that 12 people had been killed at a mining settlement near the Ukrainian city. It gave no details of who had fired.

Municipal authorities in Luhansk, capital of the other rebellious eastern province, said six people were killed in clashes there. It also gave no details of who was to blame.

Western countries have threatened to impose harsh economic sanctions on Moscow if it intervenes openly. Russia denies fueling the conflict, but Kyiv and Western countries say it has supported the rebels.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

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by: TheOldRoy from: Canada
July 15, 2014 6:49 AM
This whole situation and the fighting has been organized by the USA and the Bankers [Rothchilds] in an effort to draw Russia into a conflict..and they have failed miserably..in fact in the meantime Putin has cut his losses by stopping the Gas transfer for which Ukraine never paid, taken over the Crimea to protect his naval base.[Crimea is 90% Russian] won a 400 Billion Contract with China for Gas plus is about to with BRICS Countries provide an alternative to the world bank and the American dollar at the same time has been signing trade deals with all the Latin American countries.

He sure does not sound like a loser to me in fact just the opposite..He will wait until the correct moment and then may invade at least the two regions that have declared independence and punish the Ukrainian army at the same time the population is 60% RUSSIAN IN BOTH AREAS, so he will have the popular vote. I don't think Russia can really afford any more than that and maybe he will hold his troops back and make the Ukrainians look like absolute tyrants.

What ia crying shame is that less than 10 % of the Ukrainian Population wants any of this and the minority are Oligarchs with money stolen from the people and Nazis...who are basically all criminals and should be tried for treason. These Nazis have a long history of hate crimes that go back many decades..and I am most surprised that Germany and the USA are supporting them..see the power of the bankers ...Rothchilds hates Putin and the feeling is mutual...Now if push does come to shove; then the Russian air force and army will roll across the Ukraine in less than a week..securing all their objectives however Putin has shown no signs of this......oh if it came to a showdown between Putin and The Ukrainian Oligarch..it would be a no contest..doubt if Putin would even raise a sweat..he is a black belt and keeps himself very fit.

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
July 14, 2014 2:26 AM
Western countries have threatened to impose harsh economic sanctions on Moscow if it intervenes openly. Russia denies fueling the conflict, but Kyiv and Western countries say it has supported the rebels........this is just another round of empty treat from the west especially the US know quite well Russia is fermenting the fight buy supplying the Rebels with all forms of weapon to prolong the conflict and yet the west sits back and wait on the worst to happen before proper sanctions is placed on Putin and Russia, if the West see and know Russia is part of the problem by allowing rebels to move and arm them without putting serious sanction then they(West) are part of the problem due to their fear on losing Russian gas,soon or later Karma will playout on Russia for giving rebels arm that will come back and hunt them.

by: Sara from: Finland
July 14, 2014 1:03 AM
Russia is aggressor and nobody believes that Ukraine launched a missile in Russia! Pro-Russian rebel did it to make a pretext for war!!!!!!!!!

by: Igor from: Russia
July 13, 2014 9:08 PM
It is high time for Russia to take revenge. Kiev troops should be ready to face compelet destruction by Russian Airforce and missile units. We will not invade Ukraine, but we will destroy your army with our advanced weapons!
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 14, 2014 9:26 PM
Yep, and it is guaranteed that women and children will also be torn apart by your weapons. Uraine will counter attack, and I bet they won't care who dies in Russia. Maybe you should care.

Why don't your guys and the Ukrainians go into Siberia, away from women and children, and settle it there? No Russian women and children will suffer pain and death, neither will Ukrainian women and children. Putin with sword in hand on one end, and Poroshenko with sword in hand on the other end. They can slaughter each other at free will!!!!! I'll buy you and me a ticket and we can watch it together! Of course I'll bet on Ukraine, I know who you'll bet on, hehe. But you have to give me a point spread, Russia does have a bigger and better military.
In Response

by: Side with Ukraines from: China
July 14, 2014 12:03 AM
Russians are all gangs of the earth

by: Jerry Sparks from: USA
July 13, 2014 3:27 PM
I for 1 am sic of hearing this Idiot blow hard talking I think its time for all of us to take charge

by: Galactic Cannibal
July 13, 2014 2:40 PM
So where is the mighty Uncle Sam . Seems to me that the USA will only attack small countries who they can crush like Iraq or Vietnam. Not a big bear like Russia or a tiger like China.
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 14, 2014 3:48 AM
Good grief Cannibal (awesome name!), ignore Meanbill. He is just an anti-American American. He is garbage, trust me. Of course the US, my great country, won't attack Russia no more than Russia will attack us. If either one attacks the other, we all will suffer! Of course attack small countries, like the way Ukraine was attacked. Like the way the US attacked the North Vietnamese. Like the way Russia attack Afghanistan, and lost??? Like the way the US attacked North Korea. US hasn't won any wars since WW2, stay in your rusty broken down trailer Meanbill. So what! How many wars has Russia won since WW2, how many has China won since WW2? So what! See, Galactic Cannibal, what happens when people like Meanbill don't shower and live on welfare.

Point being is that the great nations, the superpowers of the world, can't even handle small wars, much less the big wars. Our world leaders suck! All of them. And their decisions are killing regular people, innocent people, but the world leaders are comfortable!! This is insanity!

And I would call China the 'Dragon', dragons are way cooler than tigers anyday! Russia is a bear, USA is the eagle........hope the bear grows wings!!! Just playin'
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
July 13, 2014 8:14 PM
Hey Galactic... For your information only, (the US with the greatest military forces in the history of the world), hasn't won a single war, or defeated a single country since WW2.... in all the conflicts or wars in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Iraq, and Afghanistan..... Ukraine should have learned a lesson from the US disasters, where the biggest and badass dog, doesn't always win the long drawn out fights? .... (Never poke a Russian bear, said the man who did it, while being eaten by the bear?).

by: not a Putin puppet from: USA
July 13, 2014 1:45 PM
Seems like a perfect cause for the rebels to fire at Russia. They're low on ammo and sense the end is near. The only hope they have is to draw Russia in and save the savages. Putin you're a disgraceful [redacted] looking for any reason possible to march into Ukraine so you can create a bridge to Crimea... Which you illegally annexed. The world stands and watches this dictator make moves reminiscent of Hitler and they hope he will go away. He is a psychopath that will never be happy and will continue to push until he gets his way. Yet... The current cowards of the EU and US just sit and watch scared to stand up to him. Clipping his wings now will save massive blood shed later... Nobody sees this.
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 14, 2014 4:09 AM
Believe it or not, you are not alone. Obama is determined to not be 'Bushy' when action is required. Obama will watch the world fall apart into total damnation before doing anything that would resemble what Bush would do. Bush may be towards the bottom of my list as favorite presidents, but Obama isn't even on the list at all!!! Bill Clinton is in the top 10, but he didn't beat Reagan!

Careful what you say about Soviet KGB Putin though, he does have Snowden at his side. And yes, you would be absolutely correct about the world's cowards! All the world's leaders are cowards. I don't see Putin grabbing a rifle and hunting those wascally Ukrainians!

by: L from: from Russia
July 13, 2014 12:13 PM
Russia is brazen aggressor.
In Response

by: Mr Nobody from: USA
July 13, 2014 2:18 PM
Russians are getting killed every day in the Ukraine. Russia is the clear enemy to Ukrainians. Putin has follied by claiming territory that Russia cannot defend paid for in lives that mothers will not give up.

What if another country, any other country supported the Ukraine with the same vigor as Russia has put into the conflict?

Soldier for soldier, missile for missile, gun for gun, helicopter for helicopter, jet for jet?

There would be no chance for a Russian victory.
In Response

by: Daniel from: World
July 13, 2014 1:35 PM
All clear minded people expected the made up scenario by Putin as a pretext to invade, only the ignorant brain washed Russians believe it was done by the Ukrainians

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
July 13, 2014 11:53 AM
Why does the European Union see it fit sanctioning the puppet know quite well who the puppet master is in Russia? Putin does not and will not help for peace in east Ukraine.

by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
July 13, 2014 11:44 AM
It’s outrageous!
Why should Russian citizens suffer and perish on their territory due to unprofessional or provocative actions of the Army of President Petro Poroshenko?
The Russian government should send hundreds shells to Ukranian territory by using the same approach as was earlier proclaimed and executed by Petro Poroshenko “tit for tat” when his plane had heavily bombarded separatist for their attack.
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 14, 2014 4:31 AM
I'll bet Gennady, Russia, Volga Region..........is really Putin! Oh Putin, is that really you? Come on Pootie, you are pretending to be Gennady, aren't you? Oh, you bad, bad Pootie boy! Will you please leave the Ukrainians alone. And tell your people to get out of Ukraine if they are so unhappy there! What? I didn't hear you? Oh, I see. Those Russians that live in Ukraine.....are living....in Ukraine......because of your crappy country called Russia? Slow down Pootie boy, don't talk so fast! Yes, I'll take another shot of Vodka, my fav!

Funny how these nutcases like Gennady defended the helpless rebels, and claiming that Putin wasn't arming them with RUSSIAN weapons. But the rebels are losing the battle, in their own words, because the Russians have stopped supplying them with RUSSIAN weapons! But a Russian gets killed in Russia, even though Russia has been firing a 100 times more across the Ukrainian border, blood-thirsty animals like Gennady wants the annihilation of Ukraine......for one Russian!!!! Get your goblet ready Gennady (Putin, hehe), if you have your way, your cup will overfill!!!!

You are an animal Gennady, a piece of garbage. A coward behind your hate-filled, bood-hungry words. If you are so impassioned to cause the deaths of millions because of one person, then I suggest you get started. It will not be easy. Suggest hitting the gym first, build up those arms, protein shakes, and Richard Simmon's Sweatin to the Oldies!
In Response

by: Plain Mirror Intl from: Plain Planet - Africa
July 13, 2014 3:27 PM
To speak the language Petro Poroshenko will understand, Putin must strike! This is obvious, Russia 'must' strike! There is no doubt about this, the battle line has been drawn whether Petro Poroshenko believes it or not, Russia must strike and the outcome could be very devastating.
In Response

by: Drew Lunn
July 13, 2014 2:59 PM
Russian citizens should suffer immensely so long as they support Putin.
In Response

by: john from: washington, dc
July 13, 2014 2:43 PM
Hey Russia! This isn't Poland in 1939, or Finland in 1940. You can't get away with you (or your stooges in east Ukraine) firing on your own territory, and using it as a "reason" to invade Ukraine. Invade Ukraine and see what it gets you. That grinding noise you hear is the brakes on your economy. Putin won't survive long once his oligarch friends start to feel the pinch of REAL sanctions. The West pressured the old Soviet Union into near-bankruptcy and dissolution once before, and we'll do it again.
In Response

by: Trio from: Italy
July 13, 2014 2:14 PM
Do you think one or dozen lives of Russians mean more than incursion in Ukraine? You are nothing for Putin. He doesn't invest in medicine,Russians die like flies! All he wants is power and grabbing territory of Ukraine!
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