US Releases Images in Effort to Gain Consensus Against Russia

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 09:26 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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The State Department on Sunday released high-altitude satellite images it says prove that Russia is supporting pro-Russia separatists and has fired across the border into Ukraine, The Washington Post reports.

The grainy surveillance photographs show blast marks where the Russians launched rockets and craters where they landed, all following the July 17 takedown of a Malaysian Airlines commercial jet carrying 298 people, according to The Guardian.

Another satellite image purportedly shows Russian military vehicles and self-propelled artillery only found in Russian military units, along the Russian border, aimed at Ukraine, the Post reports.

The Russians have denied being involved with the separatists, and Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov accused the United States of gathering its intelligence from social media, characterizing the U.S. allegations as "an unrelenting campaign of slander against Russia, ever more relying on open lies," according to The Huffington Post.

Moscow also denies U.S. allegations that it has increased the number of troops along the Ukrainian border to at least 15,000.

The United States is pushing for increased sanctions against Russia for "Moscow’s failure to use its influence on the separatists to allow international inspectors access to the site of the July 17 Malaysian airliner crash inside separatist territory," according to the Washington Post.

The State Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have declined to name the source of the images.

In releasing them, the United States has a dual purpose, according to the Washington Post: Make Russia responsible for its actions and persuade Europeans that Moscow merits tougher sanctions.

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