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Russia denies firing artillery into Ukraine

Russia's Defence Ministry has cast doubt on images published by the US government to back up its claim that Russia has fired artillery into Ukraine.

MOSCOW: Russia's Defence Ministry has cast doubt on images published by the US government to back up its claim that Russia has fired artillery into Ukraine.

At a press conference, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia will not "fall into hysterics" over western sanctions amid the fighting in Ukraine. Lavrov has repeatedly accused Kiev and Washington of stoking the conflict in Ukraine, while they and other international governments accuse Russia of doing just that.

The US has released images to back its claim that Russia is firing artillery into Ukraine. The images show craters, which according to the US state department, suggest fire from rocket launchers. Russia has denied this, with the defence ministry branding the images "fake", and other senior officials questioning their origin.

Lavrov said: "I already talked about this satellite image. For some reasons, it took them more than 10 days to show it so I will leave it to the experts to deal with it further."

Meanwhile, fighting in Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and central government forces continues, with the most recent UN figures indicating the death toll is over 1,100 in what is now being branded by many a 'civil war'.

The Ukrainian military is mounting a major push to isolate and eventually oust the pro-Russian militants from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. The US maintains that Moscow has stoked the conflict in eastern Ukraine but Russian continues to deny its involvement in the conflict.

While Kiev and its allies accuse Moscow, Moscow has also responded with accusations of its own, and the diplomatic standoff is doing little to stem fighting in eastern Ukraine that continues to claim more lives.

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