The Ukrainian foreign ministry has urged a prompt and full investigation into Thursday's incident on the Russian-Ukrainian border, in which a Ukrainian citizen was shot dead.

Ukrainian border guards said on Thursday that a resident of the Kharkov Region attempted to drive through the Russian-Ukrainian border in a Niva off-road vehicle. After firing a warning shot into the air, Russian border guards opened fire, killing the driver.

"We expect prompt and full investigation into this tragic incident, which happened on Russian territory, and especially into the circumstances in which the Russian border guards opened fire," the ministry said in a statement, released late on Thursday, RIA Novosti informed.

The ministry said that the incident, which has caused a public outcry in Ukraine, demonstrated "the necessity of Russian-Ukrainian border demarcation."

Russian investigators said the border guards acted within the law.

Russian border guards said on Thursday the man, whose identity is now being established, had attempted to run over a border guard while driving from Ukraine to Russia. The Ukrainian side said the man was driving from Russia.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko also expressed hope for unbiased investigation of the incident, the information policy department of the President's Secretariat reported.

He expressed special concern over the fact that the cases of use of Russian firearms on the border are not single instances. "Ukraine counts on timely and objective investigation by the relevant agencies of the Russian Federation of all details of the incident, in the first place the appropriateness of weapon use to prevent offences," the President said.

In his words, traditionally the Ukraine - Russia state border is taken by both countries' citizens as a border of friendship and peace, where economic, social and cultural relations between the two countries' citizens are closely connected. In this context Yushchenko expressed hope for constructive approach of the Russian side to the issues of completion of the contractual basis for the state border relations.

"It is necessary to give up the policy of unfounded declarations concerning demarcation of the joint border, and make in the nearest future practical moves towards the creation of a demarcation commission and endorsement of demarcation," he urged. The head of state expressed confidence that the settlement of this question is vitally important and will help take the state border as an important attribute of the state, as well as minimize unlawful activity in the border zone.

"I am calling on the Russian party for tolerant, consistent and predictable performance, and I am sure that we will meet with mutual understanding on all urgent questions concerning the border," Yushchenko noted. 


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