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Evidence of Russian Shelling into Ukraine


The following images provide 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.


Multiple Rocket Launcher Strikes within Ukraine (25/26 July)
This slide shows ground scarring at a multiple rocket launch site on the Russian side of the border oriented in the direction of Ukrainian military units within Ukraine. The wide area of impacts near the Ukrainian military units indicates fire from multiple rocket launchers.

Artillery Strikes Within Ukraine slide (23 July 14)
This slide shows 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. 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.

Artillery Strikes within Ukraine slide (23 July 14)
This is a before and after close-up of the artillery strike depicted in the lower portion of the inset in the previous graphic.

Multiple Rocket Launcher Strikes within Ukraine slide (21 July 14)
This slide shows ground scarring at two multiple rocket launch sites oriented in the direction of Ukrainian military units. The wide area of impacts near the Ukrainian military units indicates fire from multiple rocket launchers. The bottom impact crater inset shows impacts within a local village.

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United States Assessment of the Downing of Flight MH17 and its Aftermath

United States Assessment of the Downing of Flight MH17 and its Aftermath
July 19, 2014 

We assess that Flight MH17 was likely downed by a SA-11 surface-to-air missile from separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. We base this judgment on several factors.

Over the past month, we have detected an increasing amount of heavy weaponry to separatist fighters crossing the border from Russia into Ukraine. Last weekend, Russia sent a convoy of military equipment with up to 150 vehicles including tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, and multiple rocket launchers to the separatist. We also have information indicating that Russia is providing training to separatist fighters at a facility in southwest Russia, and this effort included training on air defense systems.

Pro-Russian separatist fighters have demonstrated proficiency with surface-to-air missile systems and have downed more than a dozen aircraft over the past few months, including two large transport aircraft.

At the time that flight MH17 dropped out of contact, we detected a surface-to-air missile (SAM) launch from a separatist-controlled area in southeastern Ukraine. We believe this missile was an SA-11.

Intercepts of separatist communications posted on YouTube by the Ukrainian government indicate the separatists were in possession of a SA-11 system as early as Monday July 14th. In the intercepts, the separatists made repeated references to having and repositioning Buk (SA-11) systems.

Social media postings on Thursday show an SA-11 system traveling through the separatist-controlled towns of Torez and Snizhne, near the crash site and assessed location of the SAM launch. From this location, the SA-11 has the range and altitude capability to have shot down flight MH17.

Ukraine also operates SA-11 systems, but we are confident no Ukrainian air defense systems were within range of the crash. Ukrainian forces have also not fired a single surface-to-air missile during the conflict, despite often complaining about violations of their airspace by Russian military aircraft.

Shortly after the crash, separatists – including the self-proclaimed “Defense Minister” of the Donetsk People’s Republic Igor Strelkov – claimed responsibility for shooting down a military transport plane on social media.

In an intercepted conversation that has been widely posted on the internet, a known-separatist leader tells another person that a separatist faction downed the aircraft. After it became evident that the plane was a civilian airliner, separatists deleted social media posts boasting about shooting down a plane and possessing a Buk (SA-11) SAM system.

Audio data provided to the press by the Ukrainian security service was evaluated by Intelligence Community analysts who confirmed these were authentic conversations between known separatist leaders, based on comparing the Ukraine-released internet audio to recordings of known separatists.

Video posted on social media yesterday show an SA-11 on a transporter traveling through the Krasnodon are back to Russia. The video indicated the system was missing at least one missile, suggesting it had conducted a launch.

Events on the ground at the crash site clearly demonstrate that separatists are in full control of the area.

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Readout of the President’s Call with Prime Minister Abbott of Australia and Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom

July 20: Readout of the President’s Call with Prime Minister Abbott of Australia

This evening, President Obama spoke again with Australian Prime Minister Abbott to discuss Malaysia Airlines flight 17. The President and Prime Minister reiterated their agreement that there must be a prompt, full, unimpeded and transparent international investigation. The two leaders also agreed that Russia has a responsibility to use its extraordinary influence with the pro-Russian separatists who control the crash site to compel them to cooperate with international monitors and investigators. As strong allies, the President underscored that the U.S. will continue to support and coordinate closely with Australia as this issue moves forward.

July 18: Readout of the President’s Call with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom

President Obama spoke today with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom. The two discussed the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and agreed that an independent, full, credible, and unimpeded international investigation must begin immediately. They also agreed that all countries should do their utmost to ensure the Russian-supported separatists grant secure access to the site of the incident. The two leaders discussed the recent steps taken by the United States and the European Union to increase the costs to Russia, given its failure to take the concrete steps needed to de-escalate the situation, and reiterated the need to take further action if Russia continues to fail to take these steps.

The President and Prime Minister also discussed the situation in Gaza, agreeing that Israel has the right to take action to defend itself from unceasing terror attacks by rockets and through tunnels. They agreed on the need for a ceasefire as soon as possible, noting shared concern about the risk of further escalation and the loss of more innocent life. They also conferred about the P5+1 talks with Iran and agreed that efforts must be continued to negotiate a comprehensive agreement which assures Iran’s nuclear activities are only for peaceful purposes.

 

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FACTSHEET: Russia’s Continuing Support for Armed Separatists in Ukraine and Ukraine’s Efforts Toward Peace, Unity, and Stability

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The United States’ goal throughout the crisis in Ukraine has been to support a democratic Ukraine that is stable, unified, secure both politically and economically, and able to determine its own future. Therefore, we support ongoing dialogue among the foreign ministers from Ukraine, Germany, France, and Russia to work toward a sustainable ceasefire by all parties in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine that would build toward a lasting peace. We should emphasize, however, that our ultimate goal is not just a temporary halt to violence. We want Russia to stop destabilizing Ukraine and occupying Crimea, a part of Ukraine’s territory, and allow all of the people of Ukraine to come together to make their own decisions about their country’s future through a democratic political process.

Ukrainian President Poroshenko has proposed a detailed peace plan that includes a promise of amnesty for separatists who laid down their arms voluntarily, and who are not guilty of capital crimes, decentralization of powers within Ukraine, and protection of the Russian language. He also implemented a unilateral ten-day ceasefire on June 20 to create room for a political solution, which unfortunately was not reciprocated by the separatists and their Russian backers.

While Russia says it seeks peace, its actions do not match its rhetoric. We have no evidence that Russia’s support for the separatists has ceased. In fact, we assess that Russia continues to provide them with heavy weapons, other military equipment and financing, and continues to allow militants to enter Ukraine freely. Russia denies this, just as it denied its forces were involved in Crimea — until after the fact. Russia has refused to call for the separatists to lay down their arms, and continues to mass its troops along the Ukrainian border. Many self-proclaimed “leaders” of the separatists hail from Russia and have ties to the Russian government. This all paints a telling picture of Russia’s continued policy of destabilization in eastern Ukraine.

Here are the facts:

Russia continues to accumulate significant amounts of equipment at a deployment site in southwest Russia. This equipment includes tanks of a type no longer used by the Russian military, as well as armored vehicles, multiple rocket launchers, artillery, and air defense systems. Russia has roughly doubled the number of tanks, armored vehicles, and rocket launchers at this site. More advanced air defense systems have also arrived at this site.
We are confident Moscow is mobilizing additional tanks that are no longer in the active Russian military inventory from a depot to send to this same deployment site.
We are concerned much of this equipment will be transferred to separatists, as we are confident Russia has already delivered tanks and multiple rocket launchers to them from this site.
Available information indicates Moscow has recently transferred some Soviet-era tanks and artillery to the separatists and that over the weekend several military vehicles crossed the border.
Social media videos of separatist military convoys suggest Russia in the past week alone has probably supplied the militants with at least two-dozen additional armored vehicles and artillery pieces and about as many military trucks.
Publicly available videos posted on July 14 of a Luhansk convoy on the road to Donetsk revealed at least five T-64 tanks, four BMP-2 armored personnel carriers (APC), BM-21 multiple rocket launchers, three towed antitank guns, two ZU 23-2 antiaircraft guns, and probably a 2B16 mortar.
A video of Krasnodon, near the Izvaryne border crossing, on 11 July showed two BTR armored personnel carriers, two antitank guns, and various trucks on a road heading in a westerly direction towards Donetsk.
A video filmed in Donetsk on 11 July showed a convoy of three BMD-2 APCs, two BMPs, one 2S9 self-propelled gun, and a BTR-60 APC.
In addition, after recapturing several Ukrainian cities last weekend, Ukrainian officials discovered caches of weapons that they assert came from Russia, including MANPADS, mines, grenades, MREs, vehicles, and a pontoon bridge.
Ukrainian forces have discovered large amounts of other Russian-provided military equipment, including accompanying documentation verifying the Russian origin of said equipment, in the areas they have liberated from the separatists.
Photographs of destroyed or disabled separatist equipment in eastern Ukraine have corroborated that some of this equipment is coming from Russia.
Recruiting efforts for separatist fighters are expanding inside Russia and separatists are looking for volunteers with experience operating heavy weapons such as tanks and air defenses. Russia has allowed officials from the “Donetsk Peoples’ Republic” to establish a recruiting office in Moscow.
Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko, who has long had a distinguished career in the Ukrainian military, was taken by separatists in mid-June. She is now being held in a prison in Voronezh, Russia. According to the Ukrainian government, she was transferred to Russia by separatists.
Separately Russia continues to redeploy new forces extremely close to the Ukrainian border. We have information that a significant number of additional military units are also in the process of deploying to the border.
Ukraine’s Good-Faith Efforts: In a bid to unify the country, President Poroshenko outlined a comprehensive peace plan on June 7. President Poroshenko’s plan offers amnesty to separatists who lay down their arms voluntarily, and who are not guilty of capital crimes; commits to providing a safe corridor for Russian fighters to return to Russia; establishes a job creation program for the affected areas; includes an offer of broad decentralization and dialogue with eastern regions, including the promise of early local elections; and grants increased local control over language, holidays, and customs. President Poroshenko also has reached out to the residents of eastern Ukraine and is pursuing constitutional reform which will give local regions more authority to choose their regional leaders and protect locally-spoken languages.

President Poroshenko implemented a unilateral seven-day (later extended to ten days) unilateral ceasefire on June 20. He also proposed meeting with leaders from eastern Ukraine — including separatists — despite their stated unwillingness to abide by the cease-fire or to negotiate.

Yet Russia and its proxies in Donetsk and Luhansk did not act on this opportunity for peace. Hours after the ceasefire began, Russia-backed separatists wounded nine Ukrainian service members. During the course of the ten-day ceasefire, Russia-backed separatists attacked Ukrainian security forces over 100 times, killing 28 service members. The separatists continue to hold more than 150 hostages, mostly civilians, including teachers and journalists. Separatists have refused all offers by the Ukrainian government to meet.

This timeline of events leading to, during, and after the unilateral Ukraine ceasefire illustrates how the good-faith efforts of the Ukraine government and European leaders to broker a ceasefire with Russia and the separatists it backs have been rejected. Russia and the separatists they are supporting continued to destabilize Ukraine throughout the ceasefire, and continue to destabilize Ukraine today.

May 25: Petro Poroshenko, who had campaigned on a platform stressing reconciliation with the east and Russia, is elected by an absolute majority of voters in Ukraine.
June 8-17: President Poroshenko hosts five rounds of contact group talks, facilitated by the OSCE envoy, in the lead-up to his announcement of a ceasefire.
June 12: Poroshenko initiates a call to President Putin to open communication.
June 14: EU-brokered gas talks end with a final EU brokered proposal: Ukraine accepts the proposal, but Russia rejected it.
June 19: Poroshenko meets with eastern Ukrainian leaders, including separatists, in Kyiv.
June 20: Poroshenko implements a seven-day unilateral ceasefire. Hours later, nine Ukrainian service members are wounded by pro-Russian separatists, foreshadowing separatists’ 100 plus violent actions over the next 10 days.
June 23: The contact group meets in Donetsk.
June 25: NATO Secretary General Rasmussen notes that there are “no signs” of Russia respecting its international commitments with regard to Ukraine.
June 27: Ukraine provides constitutional reform provisions to the Venice Commission for review. This reform would allow for the direct election of governors and for local authorities to confer special status on minority languages within their regions.
June 27: Poroshenko extends the unilateral ceasefire another 72 hours to allow another chance for OSCE contact group negotiations to show progress.
June 28: Ukraine shoots down two Russian UAVs violating Ukraine’s airspace in the Luhansk region.
June 30: Due to the separatists’ refusal to abandon violence in favor of negotiation, President Poroshenko allows the cease-fire to expire.
July 3: President Poroshenko in a telephone conversation with U.S. Vice President Biden reaffirms that he is ready to begin political negotiations to resolve the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions without any additional conditions.
July 8: President Petro Poroshenko visits the former rebel stronghold of Slovyansk to meet with local residents after government forces recapture it from pro-Russian separatists.
July 9: Ukraine restores electricity and train service to Slovyansk, and Ukrainian security forces distribute food, drinking water, and humanitarian aid to the population.
July 11: The Ukrainian government establishes an inter-agency task force in Slovyansk that is conducting damage, security, and humanitarian needs assessments.
July 11: The Ukrainian government reports that it delivered over 60 tons of humanitarian aid supplies in Donetsk Oblast over the preceding 24 hours, bringing the five-day total to 158 tons. President Poroshenko announces that Ukrainian security forces had successfully cleared nearly 100 mines and roadside bombs from liberated territory.
As General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, stated on July 1: “The cease fire in Ukraine was not ended because of accusations; it was ended because Russian-backed separatists responded with violence while President Poroshenko tried to open a window for peace. Russia’s commitment to peace will be judged by its actions, not its words.” As the United States and our European allies have repeatedly stated, we call on the Russian government to halt its material support for the separatists, to use its influence with the separatists to push them to lay down their arms and abide by a ceasefire and to release all hostages. Only then can the process of bringing peace to Ukraine truly begin.

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While many Americans in the United States were celebrating during the Fourth of July weekend, Marines with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, were engaging Taliban insurgents in Helmand province, Afghanistan. 

The infantrymen along with Afghan National Army soldiers operated within close proximity of Camp Leatherneck to continue disruption operations and prevent future attacks on the Camps Bastion and Leatherneck, July 4 - 6.

Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/135955/infantrymen-engage-taliban-insurgents-during-4th-july-weekend

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Vice President’s Call with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President

July 10, 2014

Readout of the Vice President’s Call with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine. President Poroshenko told the Vice President that the Ukrainian government had proposed multiple venues — in Ukraine, in Russia, as well as other countries — for negotiating a ceasefire with the pro-Russian separatists, but that all of these offers were refused either by Russia or the separatists. The Vice President welcomed Ukraine’s continued efforts to negotiate a ceasefire as well as a roadmap for implementing President Poroshenko’s peace plan in an effort to put Ukraine on a long-term path to stability. The Vice President told President Poroshenko that the United States was discussing with its partners in the international community the need to hold Russia accountable for its continued support for the separatists, including its provision of heavy weapons and equipment across the border. The Vice President agreed with President Poroshenko on the need to quickly put in place an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) border monitoring mission in Ukraine that could potentially be expanded to monitor a future ceasefire, and on the need for the immediate release of Ukrainian hostages held by the separatists.

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First, though we have been clear that there is no military solution to this crisis, ‪‎Ukraine‬ has the right to restore order and stability within its territory through the use of its armed forces, internal security forces, and border guards.
— Assistant Secretary of Defense Derek ‪Chollet‬, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Russia and Developments in Ukraine, July 9

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President Obama & Vice President Biden Meeting with NATO Secretary General

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

DAILY GUIDANCE AND PRESS SCHEDULE FOR
TUESDAY, JULY 8, 2014

The President will meet with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the White House.  Ahead of the NATO summit in Wales this September, the President looks forward to discussing with the Secretary General the crisis in Ukraine and related reassurance measures for our NATO allies; improving allied defense investment; further work on bolstering NATO’s network of partners; and NATO’s post-2014 non-combat mission in Afghanistan.  The Secretary General’s visit underscores the vital importance the United States places on NATO as the cornerstone of our alliance with Europe.  The Vice President will also attend.

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U.S. Assistance to Armed Forces of Ukraine Arrives

More defense assistance for Ukraine: 2,000 sets of Interceptor body armor given by the United States as assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine have arrived in Kyiv. Once it clears customs it will be handed over to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense for transport to its final destination. The body armor will increase soldier survivability during military operations in the field, saving lives. Interceptor body armor is the same model provided to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, developed for better protection and lighter weight than earlier types, making it more effective in combat operations.

Other recent deliveries of U.S. assistance include 1,000 sleeping mats and 3,600 camouflage jackets, while 400 boxes of gauze bandages and 1,000 helmet covers will be delivered shortly. These shipments are part of a U.S. non-lethal aid package for Ukraine totaling more than $23 million and also including first aid kits, night vision goggles, communications equipment, and other materiel to facilitate the operations of the Ukrainian military and State Border Guard Service (SBGS) to assist them in their efforts to halt acts of terrorism in eastern Ukraine. U.S. security assistance to Ukraine is ongoing and further assistance shipments are planned.

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The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) conducted joint maritime operations with Allies.