Russia asks envoys to visit town it says was hit by Ukraine shelling
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has asked military attaches from 18 countries including the United States to visit a town in the Rostov region on Tuesday where Moscow says a shell fired from across the border in Ukraine killed one person.
The planned visit appeared part of a war of words between Ukraine and Russia intended to win international backing in the conflict between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists who have risen up in eastern Ukraine.
"The Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation has decided to familiarise foreign military specialists with the real situation in Donetsk in the Rostov region ... which (on Sunday) suffered destruction from artillery fire and shelling from Ukrainian territory," a ministry spokesman said.
Itar-Tass news agency quoted a defence official as saying military attaches from the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - France, Britain and China - were also invited.
Ukraine has denied the Russian charges that Ukrainian government forces fired across the border. It says the separatist rebels systematically fire across the border into Russia to try to provoke Russian military intervention.
Moscow's angry response to the incident and reports of Russian troops being moved up to the border raised again the prospect of Russian intervention, after weeks in which President Vladimir Putin had appeared intent on disengaging.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly and Tatyana Ustinova, Writing by Elizabeth Piper, Editing by Timothy Heritage)