No red lines, no YouTube clips, no "satellite images" of WMD this time: just more "straight to propaganda" speculation by the Pentagon. From Reuters:
The Pentagon said on Friday the transfer of heavy-caliber multiple-launch rocket systems from Russia to Ukrainian separatists appeared to be imminent with the arms close enough to the border they could be handed over "potentially today."
"We have indications that the Russians intend to supply heavier and more sophisticated multiple-launch rocket systems in the very near future," said Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, adding that the weapons were in the over-200mm range.
Warren indicated the weapons had been seen getting closer to the border and the Pentagon believed a transfer was imminent and could happen "potentially today."
"We believe that they are able to transfer this equipment at any time, at any moment," he said.
So Russia "could", "potentially today" transfer rocket launchers to Ukraine. But wait, wasn't the same Pentagon reporting hours ago that Russia is now, with the entire world clearly watching, no longer even pretending to be not engaged and is firing at Ukraine forces directly from its own territory? Why would they stop now? And surely with every US spy satellite trained at east Ukraine, the moment this happens it will be blasted to every media outlet. Right?
A multiple-launch rocket system is a wheeled or tracked vehicle mounted with multiple tubes capable of firing a half dozen or more guided or unguided rockets in quick succession at targets scores of miles (km) away. The rockets are generally 100mm to 300mm, with those over 200mm in the heavier-caliber category.
"We're very concerned with the quantity and the capability of weapons flowing from Russia into the Ukrainian separatists' hands," Warren said.
"There has been a continuous flow over the last several weeks of weapons and equipment from Russia to Ukraine," he said, noting that the "most egregious example" was a column of more than 100 vehicles crossing the border.
The Pentagon's assessment that a transfer of heavy weaponry was imminent came as Russian authorities accused Ukraine of firing a volley of mortar rounds across the frontier into Russia on Friday while a group of investigators was in the area assessing reports of cross-border shooting.
A Russian security official said up to 40 mortar bombs fired by Ukrainian forces fell in the Russian province of Rostov near the border where Ukrainian government forces are fighting pro-Russian separatists. There were no reports of injuries.
Then there was this:
- EARNEST SAYS U.S. TALKING WITH EU ABOUT MORE RUSSIA SANCTIONS
And then, just to hammer home the message that crazy Putin, the "West's Public Enemy Number One" is about to invade Ukraine, we get this from Reuters:
- MORE THAN 15K RUSSIAN TROOPS ON UKRAINE BORDER
Ok, we get it: the former KGB spy is on full tilt and deserves every #hashtag the West can unleash. So please activate the sanctions already, those including Gazprom and not the purely theatrical ones to date, and let's all sit back and watch what happens to Europe's economy.
In the meantime, due to popular demand, here is some cover art courtesy of William Banzai.