Russia is now directly militarily the “pro-Russian rebels” in eastern Ukraine. The US State Department, the Pentagon and Reuters have all confirmed that the Russian military is firing artillery at targets inside Ukraine from the Russian side of the border.
“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 spokeswoman Marie Harf said.
Harf, speaking at a regular media briefing, said the information was based on intelligence reports. “I can’t tell you what the information is based on,” she said.
Up to now, Russia has maintained an implausible deniability on the war in Ukraine, supporting the rebels (many of whom are former and current Russian military and intelligence operatives) with words and equipment but not direct fire. That has changed today, just a week after a Russian-made BUK missile was used to shoot down MH17 over Ukraine, killing all 298 civilians aboard.