Washington, Jul 25: The US has alleged that Russia is firing artillery across its border with Ukraine to target Ukrainian military positions and planning to boost military shipments to separatists in a “clear escalation” of hostilities there. “We have new evidence that the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful, multiple rocket launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine, and have evidence that Russia is firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military positions,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson, Marie Harf told reporters at her daily news conference.
Without going into the details of the intelligence information, Harf said the Russian military is firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military positions. The shelling by Russian forces against Ukrainian positions had been “going on for several days,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said. “It’s a clear escalation,” Warren told reporters. At a separate news conference with foreign reporters, Harf said based on a variety of information, the US believes that this was an SA-11 fired from an area controlled by Russian separatists inside Ukraine that shot down the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
“Ground photography from the crash site is consistent with expected damage from a surface-to-air missile of the kind the separatists have indeed used and bragged about having, does not correspond to the kind of ? what we would expect to see from an air-to-air missile such as the Su-25 has,” she said in response to a question. “So we have put forward our assessment, based on a variety of information about why we believe that it indeed was an SA-11 fired from Russian-controlled separatist area. We believe an investigation needs to go forward to determine exactly who had their finger on the trigger. We still don’t know that, don’t know the intentions behind why they did this.”
“So we think an investigation should continue, but we will continue to put out more information as we are able to do so,” she added. Responding to a broader question on US Russia relationship, Harf said the Obama Administration has always said?they will work together when they can. “If you look at…Vienna Iran talks, we and the Russians are in lockstep on the exact same side about how we deal with the Iranian nuclear threat. We work very closely together on that issue,” she said.