Europe closes lower on reports of Russia incursion

European stock markets closed down on Friday, after reports that Ukrainian troops had destroyed part of a military unit entering from Russia.

Ukrainian artillery destroyed a "significant" part of a Russian armored column that crossed into the country during the night, according to Ukraine's presidential website.

Read MoreUkrainian forces engage Russian troops

The news hit stocks and other assets sharply. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed provisionally down 0.5 percent on the day at 1,323 points, but was up on the week by around 1.3 percent.


The German DAX underperformed, due to its component companies' reliance on Russian energy, ending down 1.7 percent on the day.

The U.K. benchmark FTSE 100 managed to close flat on the day. The French CAC ended unofficially lower by 0.9 percent.

Markets in Greece, Italy and Austria were closed for the Assumption Day holiday, with trading continuing across the rest of Europe.

In stocks news, BHP Billiton closed up around 1.2 percent percent after the group announced its plans to spin off unwanted assets to shareholders including its manganese, aluminium and nickel assets. The FTSE-listed miner said a demerger was its preferred way of simplifying its global portfolio of assets.

Other big mining stocks also rose, including Rio Tinto.

Shares in fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz were given a lift, closing up around 1.8 percent, after the chain reported strong sales for July.

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