Foreign Policy

U.S. Claims Satellite Images Show Russia Fired Artillery Into Ukraine

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State Department

The State Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence yesterday released satellite images they say are evidence that "Russian forces have fired across the border at Ukrainian military forces, and that Russia-backed separatists have used heavy artillery, provided by Russia, in attacks on Ukrainian forces from inside Ukraine."

From The Washington Post:

The most recent photograph, taken Saturday, shows what are described as "blast marks" from rocket-launcher fire on the Russian side of the border and "impact craters" inside Ukraine.

A photograph labeled as having been taken Wednesday shows a row of vehicles described as "self-propelled artillery only found in Russian military units, on the Russian side of the border, oriented in the direction of a Ukrainian military unit within Ukraine." On the other side of the border, "the pattern of crater impacts near the Ukrainian military unit indicates strikes from artillery fired from self-propelled or towed artillery, vice multiple rocket launchers," the label says.

Here's the State Department's four-page document with pictures on the matter.

At the time the images were released, Secretary of State John Kerry "urged [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov] to stop the flow of heavy weapons and rocket and artillery fire from Russia into Ukraine, and to begin to contribute to deescalating the conflict," and "did not accept" Lavrov's denial of involvement, according to the State Department.

For its part, Russia accuses the U.S. of "an unrelenting campaign of slander against Russia, ever more relying on open lies."

Today, President Barack Obama is having a joint call with leaders of Britain, France,  Germany, and Italy. "The call comes as the U.S. and European Union weigh tougher sanctions against Russia," according to the Associated Press, which yesterday noted that "targeted economic sanctions and threats of tougher ones have yet to alter" Russia's behavior in Ukraine.

The United Nations' latest report on the war today highlights that although both sides have been using heavy weaponry, the insurgents have subjected civilians to a "a reign of intimidation and terror."  Over 1,100 people have been killed, 3,442 have been wounded, and about 100,000 have fled the area since separatists arrived in the contested regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in mid-April.

The fighting continues today, and as Ukraine's military presses forward, it's further delaying an investigation of the Malaysia Airlines crash site.

NEXT: Israeli Strike Hits Gaza Hospital

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  1. Do”pro-Russian separatists” actually exist? Or is that just a polite name for the Russian Army?

    1. I’m sure there are some. But even one Russian soldier on Ukrainian soil is an act of war. Anything done by Russian military on Ukrainian soil is a war crime.

      1. Who is going to investigate and prosecute that crime?

        Putin doesn’t seem to worried about being called a criminal.

      2. war is war not a crime. “war crimes” are made up bullshit used by hawks to claim moral superiority for their own brand of destruction.

  2. These images are a joke, especially the 7/20 vs 7/23 side by side. Large differences in resolutions, source is … digital globe, really? road markings are very different.

    Sorry, try again.

    1. Oh they’re real. What is faked are Obama’s balls.

    2. I’m guessing you’re unaware that Digital Globe has a fleet of sub-meter resolution capable imagery satellites, and that resolution is variable?

      1. a) if you are asserting something as “proof” the after should be at least as good a resolution as the before

        b) that the US govt is relying on a commercial sat to provide this ‘unquestionable’ information is pretty pathetic.

        1. a) When did you become an IMINT analyst?

          b) Who said the govt is “relying on a commercial sat…”? I’m quite positive that we’ve got satellites with much higher resolution, but those images would be classified.

  3. Who wants to die for Ukraine’s right to live slightly less russianly than actual Russians?

    1. Some Ukrainians?

  4. Are these the same intelligence agents who found WMDs in Iraq in 2002?

    1. You might want to read these quotes and reassess who exactly was pushing for war with Iraq: http://davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm

      Also, consider the fact that Clinton dropped more ordinance on Iraq during Operation Desert Fox, than Bush did during the “shock and awe” campaign of OIF.

      1. And that has zero to do with faking the wmd’s in the lead up to the war mr. anoneocon. That you can find a few idiots from the other party (D or R) spouting the nonsense is meaningless.

        1. You’re not too bright, are you? Nobody faked WMD’s. Saddam gambled and lost. If you don’t know what that means, try reading a little history on the subject.

        2. The “WMDs were faked” trope is nonsense. Every major intelligence agency in the world thought Saddam possessed them, including the French and Russians, who had bloody energy and arms agreements in place with Saddam and therefore a vested interest in keeping him in place. And if memory serves, the chemical precursors were discovered in sites around Iraq.

          You can legitimately call into question the wisdom of going to war in Iraq at all and I’ll even grant you the possible argument of “everyone was wrong” but a global fakery – requiring participants whose interests ran counter to such a scam – is just silly.

  5. And on today’s centennial anniversary of the start of WWI.

    I don’t see how this ends well…

    1. Best WWI quote comes via History Prof. Bob Packett:

      WWI began stupid, was fought stupid, and ended stupid.

      1. It sounds apt on first glance, but oversimplifies some of the details of the conflict. Currently embroiled in a reading battle with Niall Ferguson’s The Pity of War. Some interesting take aways so far, ones that dissent from the conventional wisdom in key regards. Can’t wait to finish it.

        1. Where ya been, fuckface?

          1. I was in Vegas/Lake Mead over the weekend.

  6. Are we sure these are satellite pictures of Ukraine, or could they be a close up of someones balls?

  7. I think Ukraine qualifies as a failed state.

    1. They certainly chose a bad neighborhood.

  8. DUN NO MUTCH ABOWT THE EYOO CRAIN BUT AFTER SICKSTEE ODD YEARS LIVIN IN THE BAYOU OL COBY KNOWS A LIL SOMTHIN ABOUT A BOAT TIPPIN AND ROLLIN AND HAVIN TA REETCH HIS SHOT GUN DOWN THE GULLET OF A MEEEAAAAN OLD CROCADILLI AND BUST THAT BOYS GUTS UP TWENNY FEET HIGH LORDL ATTEST. WELL NEEDES TO SAY OL COBY TOOK WHAT WAS LEFT OF THE RASKL AND I GOT THE TAYL PINN’D UP GOOD IN THA SHACK. IT STERS A GOOD CRAWDAD GUMBO POT ALRITE. WAS SUM GUTS LEF’T FOR THE GARCONS TO CRUNCH ON ID ADD, A BLESSD FORCHIN CONSIDRIN I WAS SPOOKD ENUFTA ROW OUTTA THE BAYOU TAIL AN ALL FOR HIS AMIS COME FOR A RECKNIN!

  9. I looked at the “..State Department’s four page document with pictures on the matter,..” The image shown above seems to be one of the four pictures. Please note that the image above is a clumsy fake, as the two insets can in no way be linked back to the larger picture that shows the boundary between Russia and the Ukraine: they have clearly been imported from elsewhere, (Wyoming, perhaps?) and plastered over an alleged photo of Russia/Ukraine. They do not “prove nothing” however; they prove that the State Department is EITHER incompetent OR mendacious, (or both) and in any case BOTH reckless AND malicious: though none of this is in any way “News.”

    Other “images” allegedly from satellites, (or faked?) (I might trust a realtime released image, iff the Washington goons were honest enough to release such stuff, but they never do: they are like Hollywood (and Beltway !) nobs, who never allow an un-photoshopped image out – the other three “images” (“pictures” ? “fantasies” ? “Sci Fi”? “High Tech Fictional” ? ) are not relevant to a claim about Russian cannon shooting at the Ukrainian military units.

  10. (Continued – I was over the 1500 word limit)

    Two of the “pix” purport to show rocketry, and the third shows a Ukrainian military target zone, (or is this another shot of Wyoming, or Colorado, or Fort Bragg, or just about anywhere ???) with a pair of “before” and “after” images, where some allegedly artillerous impacts are first not there, and then there. What a terrible thing to do to the beautiful American natural environment: I wonder if it was lawful; but perhaps they got a special permit from the POTUS.

  11. And just one other thing. They put out these images, and (obligingly ? considerately ? helpfully ?) insert a North point. But it does not infact point North, for the inset? Where is it meant to apply? Which of the images are aligned, and which have been rotated? Or is the North point just put there as a joke ?

    But then, the whole thing is just a joke, Washington style: “We laugh, these profit, those die.”

  12. I have feeling that this thing won’t end good for entire planet. There will be large war soon…

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