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Russia says treating wounded Ukrainians who fled across border

Eighteen Ukrainians with shrapnel wounds were hospitalised in Russia after fleeing from the conflict-torn east of their country, the health ministry said Thursday, adding that one has died.

Russian media reported that the Ukrainians drove up to two border posts Wednesday waving white flags and asked to be let in for medical treatment.

Two with serious injuries were hospitalised in Kuibyshevo near the border, the health ministry spokeswoman for the Rostov region, Valentina Goncharova, told AFP.

They had “numerous shrapnel wounds and were in a very serious condition,” she said.

“Despite receiving the full range of medical care, one patient died” from his injuries, she said, saying 12 hours had passed before he reached the hospital.

She added that medics were deciding whether to move the second one to a specialised hospital in the regional centre of Rostov-on-Don.

Another 16 Ukrainians with shrapnel and bullet wounds were brought to a clinic in Gukovo, another Russian border village some 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Kuibyshevo, Goncharova said, with four of them in “a very serious condition”.

Russian border service spokesman Vasily Malayev earlier said two border guards and a larger group of servicemen were taken to the two different clinics.

Heavy fighting has gripped the border area in recent days, with Kiev and Moscow exchanging accusations over who is responsible as Ukrainian troops attempt to reestablish control over pro-Russian militants in the area.