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OSCE observers leave Russian border over security threat

Posted on Aug 05 2014 | IANS

Moscow, Aug 4 : Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have left a Russian checkpoint near Ukrainian border over security concerns, Russian officials Monday.

"The OSCE officials have left the Gukovo border checkpoint due to the shooting and explosions of munitions, whose fragments are reaching the Russian territory from time to time," Xinhua reported citing Vasily Malayev, a spokesman for the Russian Federal Security Service's (FSB) Rostov regional department, as saying.

Malayev said the Russian border guards and customs officers continue to guard the area.

Meanwhile, Ukraine Monday claimed to have found two of its jets that were shot down in eastern Donetsk region July 24, by missiles fired from the Russian territory.

The claims were dismissed by the Russian defence ministry as "nonsense".

Earlier Sunday, Russia's Gukovo checkpoint was shelled from the Ukrainian territory and brought observers working there under mortar fire.

The OSCE Permanent Council decided to send an observer mission to the Russian-Ukrainian border July 24, under the Berlin Declaration signed by the foreign ministers of Germany, Russia, France and Ukraine July 2.

The first group of OSCE officials, composed of four observers and three staff members, began monitoring the checkpoints of Gukovo and Donetsk July 30.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the checkpoints came under fire several times, with no proof of who should be held accountable.

As clashes kept raging in eastern Ukraine, Russia has been trading blames with major Western powers over build-up of military presence near its borders with Ukraine.

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