Militia goes on offensive near outskirts of Donetsk - Ukrainian troops
According to Kiev, the offensive began early in the morning; the firefight lasted for more than an hour; three Ukrainian servicemen were injured. Currently, the battle is under way near the settlement of Taran, where the militia fighters continue to press on the attack.
"The attack is conducted from the direction of Saur-Mogila and Stepanovka (Donetsk region). The Ukrainian troops are being shelled with mortars, tanks and antitank guided missiles," the National Guard stated.
Ukrainian aircraft have attacked self-defense forces positions near Saur Mogila Hill in the east of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region. Self-defense troops are trying to repel the attack, using anti-aircraft guns.
"We have been attacked by three Su-25 fighter bombers. They came three times and fired four heavy guided missiles plus NURS [unguided missiles]. We are responding with anti-aircraft fire," a spokesman for the self-defense forces told reporters.
Ukrainian aircraft have also bombed the nearby village of Tarany, controlled by self-defense forces.
Earlier, Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council confirmed Ukrainian air strikes withn the area of military operations.
Large numbers of Ukrainian troops, trapped near Saur Mogila, are reportedly attempting to fight their way out of the encirclement.
In April, Kiev launched a military operation to suppress an anti-government movement in eastern Ukraine in the wake of the Maidan-led February coup that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.
Russia has repeatedly called for an end to bloodshed in eastern Ukraine.
Two artillery shells fired from Ukraine hit Russia near the multi-way automobile border-crossing point Kuibyshevo, chief press officer in the Southern Customs Department Rayan Farukshin told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday.
"The customs house personnel were evacuated at 7.50 am Moscow time after blasts of shells fired from the Ukrainian customs Marinovka checkpoint. Shells exploded outside a border checkpoint in Russia. No one was hurt in the incident," Farukshin said.
The Russian Novoshakhtinsk checkpoint had also been evacuated overnight to Wednesday. "Upon hearing gunfire at the Dolzhansky Ukrainian customs border-crossing point at 3.40 am Moscow time, the checkpoint leadership chose to evacuate all personnel.
Seven foreign, including the Ukrainian, military attaches accredited in Russia, have declined an invitation to travel to the Russia-Ukraine border that was hit by artillery rounds fired from Ukrainian territory on Sunday.
Invitations to visit the scene of the incident were sent to military attaches from 18 countries, and eleven of them, those representing China, Spain, the US, Finland, Norway, Italy, Denmark, India, Germany, Sweden and France, left for the area on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry's agreements implementation department chief, Sergei Ryzhkov, told journalists on Tuesday.
The other seven attaches, those representing Ukraine, Belgium, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Austria, could not travel for various reasons, Ryzhkov said.
Military attaches from 11 states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe visited Russian city of Donetsk, hit by artillery shells launched from the territory of Ukraine over the weekend. The attaches and foreign journalists examined damage and shell craters done by the artillery shells.
"I am sorry for people who were injured or killed. It will take a lot of time to clarify the circumstances of this incident," said Reiner Schwalb, the German defense attache in Moscow. "The Russian side does not conceal the incident and our task is to understand this situation from the inside," he added.
At least seven artillery shells landed near Russia-Ukraine border Sunday, leaving a man dead and two women wounded.
The Russian Defense Ministry has invited military attaches from 18 countries, including the United States and Germany, to come to an area in the Rostov region bordering on Ukraine, which came under shelling from the Ukrainian side a few days ago. "We have invited accredited military attaches from 18 countries[the United States, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Ukraine, China, Japan and others], to visit the above area on July 15," Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters.
Ukraine "cynically denies the obvious facts and does everything it can to avoid accusations of shelling of the Russian territory," he said.
"The invitation is a gesture of goodwill on the part of Russia, proof of its openness in matters regarding military activities and yet another attempt to tell the world about the real state of affairs on the Russian-Ukrainian border," Antonov said.
On Sunday morning, a shell fired form the Ukrainian side of the border hit a private house in the town of Donetsk in Russia’s Rostov region, killing a father of four and injuring an elderly woman.
The Russian Investigative Committee blamed the attack on Ukrainian troops, National Guard and Right sector militants.
On Monday, Moscow called on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to send OSCE observers to the Russian border checkpoints Donetsk and Gukovo.
Earlier, OSCE press secretary Roland Bless confirmed to the RIA Novosti news agency that Russia's proposal was being studied and would require the approval of the OSCE Permanent Council.
Russia will invite observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to the "Donetsk" and "Gukovo" border checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border. This is meant to be a gesture of goodwill, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"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," that's according to information posted on the Foreign Ministry website.
"Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today referred a corresponding letter to the Swiss president, Didier Burkhalter, chairman-in-office of the OSCE. Concurrently, Russia is submitting a draft resolution for the organization's Permanent Council to the OSCE on the deployment of observers. We hope this document will be approved shortly," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.