One day after the U.S. government accused Russia of betraying a signature treaty by test-firing a medium-range ballistic missile, questions are mounting on Tuesday over whether the Ukrainian Army has actually fired short-range ballistic missiles at rebel-held areas in the east of the country.
[A U.S. official] said it is not clear if the United States will show satellite imagery of the Ukrainian firings “because these are the good guys.” —CNN reportWith no mention of potential civilian casualties, CNN reported on Tuesday that according to three U.S. officials, in the past 48 hours the Ukrainian military had fired several short-range ballistic missiles “into areas controlled by Russian separatists.”
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With warheads up to 1000 pounds, CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr said of the ballistic missiles: “We are talking maximum lethality, we are talking a weapon that can kill dozens of people at a time.”
Meanwhile, the death toll among civilians continues to mount. According to a United Nations count released Monday— 1,129 people have been killed and 3,442 wounded between July 26 and when fighting began in mid-April. This week, that count grows as the Ukrainian military continued to shell the eastern cities of Gorlovka and Donetsk.
In the CNN report, Starr emphasizes the “awkward situation” that the U.S. is in, having backed the Ukrainian government’s assault on the rebels in the east and, specifically, having in recent days published widely satellite images that allegedly show Russia firing rockets into Ukraine.
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia continued to ratchet up on Monday when President Barack Obama charged Russian President Vladimir Putin with testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missiles, violating the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or I.N.F. Treaty. According to U.S. intelligence officials, Russia has been conducting these tests since 2008. Obama is reportedly seeking a “high-level dialogue with Moscow” before formally declaring the treaty violation.
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