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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia checkpoint evacuated over Ukraine shelling

RIA Novosti

Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:20PM GMT

A border checkpoint in Russia's southern Rostov region has been evacuated due to shelling on the side of Ukraine.

Rayan Farukshin chief press officer of the Southern Customs Service Department told the Itar-Tass news agency that, "customs officers were evacuated at 6.30 am Moscow time on Sunday after several shells had blasted near the state border" in southern town of Gukovo.

He added that the customs officers have returned to their working places an hour after the fire stopped. The shelling caused no casualties. Moreover, no infrastructure of the border-crossing point was damaged, Farukshin said.

This comes a day after customs officers from multi-way automobile border-crossing point Kuibyshevo were evacuated over gunfire on Ukrainian territory.

Russia had earlier warned that it may respond in case of more cross-border shootings from Ukraine's eastern regions where Kiev is staging military operations against pro-Russia forces.

The Russian Rostov region has recently seen over a dozen shells hitting the area, which borders Ukraine's eastern Lugansk region, where Ukrainian troops are fighting pro-Russia forces.

Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking parts in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia protesters and the Ukrainian army since the government in Kiev launched military operations in mid-April in a bid to crush the pro-Russia protests.

Violence intensified in May after Ukraine's eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk held local referendums, in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the ongoing military campaign in Ukraine, which has also forced tens of thousands to escape to Russia, with the majority arriving to the Russian Rostov region.

MOS/AB



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