Moscow (AFP) - The Russian defence ministry denied Friday that it had sent a military convoy into Ukraine after officials in Kiev said they destroyed part of the armoured column.
Major-General Igor Konashenkov said "there exists no Russian military convoy that supposedly crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border...", but better that Ukraine's armed forces "destroy phantoms instead of refugees or their own soldiers," he added, according to Russian news agencies.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told British Prime Minister David Cameron that government artillery had destroyed a "considerable part" of a small military convoy that entered the country, the presidency said in a statement earlier Friday.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen backed reports of the "Russian incursion" after British media said it had seen the convoy of some 20 vehicles cross the border.
Konashenkov lashed out at Western officials launching accusations based on “fantasies” that journalists are reporting on social media sites.
“It appears this discussing for days some post on Twitter instead of seeing the mass killing of peaceful civilians going on in the centre of Europe due to the result of large-scale shelling of cities is becoming a serious and widespread disease, or even epidemic,” he was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
Meanwhile, in a call with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel, Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu criticised Ukraine's use of heavy weapons against civilians.
Shoigu expressed Russia's view of the "unacceptability of (Ukrainian) government forces using military aircraft and heavy weapons including rocket launchers against peaceful civilians and civil infrastructure" in eastern Ukraine, according to a defence ministry statement cited by RIA-Novosti news agency.