For the second time in a week Ukraine has fired artillery rounds into Russia.
On Wednesday a border crossing at Kuibyshoveo was hit by two artillery shells, according to the chief press officer in the Southern Customs Department.
“The personnel of the customs house were evacuated at 7.50 am Moscow time after blasts of shells fired from the Ukrainian customs checkpoint Marinovka. Shells exploded outside a border checkpoint in Russia. No one was hurt in the incident,” Rayan Farukshin told the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS.
The border station at Novoshakhtinsk, a mining town in the Russian Oblast of Rostov, was evacuated after gunfire was reported at the Ukrainian border crossing in Dolzhansky.
Shootings and evacuations at Russian border stations have increased over the last few days. On Monday Russia’s Donetsk checkpoint in the Rostov Region was closed following a shooting on at the adjoining Ukrainian Izvarino customs station border station, according to RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
The Donetsk station was closed after a 120-mm artillery shell hit a house in the Rostov region on Sunday and killed a 47-year old Russian civilian. The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the shelling and said that the provocation might have “irreversible consequences.”
No less than seven artillery shells fell on the Russian side of the border on Sunday. In addition to the death of the Russian man, two women were wounded.
The Rostov incident promoted Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov to invite foreign military attachés to the site on Tuesday.
Ukrainian and other attachés accredited in Russia, including those from Belgium, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Austria, have declined the invitation. Attachés representing China, Spain, the United States, Finland, Norway, Italy, Denmark, India, Germany, Sweden and France, however, left for the area on Tuesday, The Voice of Russia reported.
“The use of heavy artillery systems by Ukraine’s armed forces has not only led to the destruction of our peaceful towns, but worst of all to the death of a Russian citizen,” Antonov said. “But at the same time the Ukrainian side is cynically denying the clear facts and doing everything possible to deflect accusations of its shelling of Russian territory.”
Russia has called for a response to the Rostov incident from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The Russians would like to see OSCE observers on the border.
“In view of a sharp deterioration in the situation in the area of Ukraine’s law enforcement operation in southeastern Ukraine, the Russian side, in a gesture of goodwill and without waiting for a ceasefire to be introduced, is inviting OSCE observers to the border ‘Donetsk’ and ‘Gukovo’ checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on its web page.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has accused Russia of sending military across the border to assist Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. He said Russian officers are fighting alongside the separatists. Poroshenko has refused to extend a 30-day ceasefire and has called on the European Union to impose harsh sanctions on Russia.