Global condemnation apparently hasn't fazed Vladimir Putin: The Obama administration today accused Russia of firing artillery from its territory into Ukraine to hit military sites and asserted that Moscow is boosting its supply of weaponry to pro-Russian separatists. "We have new evidence that the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to separatist forces in Ukraine," said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. A US official tells Reuters that the artillery fire mentioned by Harf began Tuesday or later, adding that there was no evidence of civilian casualties.
The allegations come amid an increasingly bitter war of words between Washington and Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine and conflicting claims over the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over eastern Ukraine last week. The US has repeatedly accused Russia of stoking the Ukraine rebellion and has said it believes separatists shot down the Malaysian plane, killing nearly 300 people, with a surface-to-air missile that probably came from Russia. The US has not offered "direct proof" of Moscow's involvement, however. (Read more State Department stories.)