A week after Russia revealed photos of Ukraine deploying Buk missiles in the east as well as radar proof of Ukraine warplanes in the vicinity of MH-17, the US has yet to present any of the incontrovertible evidence supposedly in its possession that proves it was the separatists who shot down the plane, a narrative which has already propagated through western media. Instead, several hours ago the US. Office of the Director of National Intelligence released satellite images taken by the private civilian company Digital Globe (and thus not government sourced), which US officials say offer proof that Russian forces have been shelling eastern Ukraine in a campaign to assist rebel groups fighting Ukraine’s government in Kiev.
The WaPo reports:
The grainy photographs, taken between Wednesday and Saturday, are labeled as indicating fire from multiple rocket launchers inside Russia and targets they have struck inside Ukraine. The Pentagon and State Department first accused Russian artillery of firing directly into Ukraine on Thursday. The charges were repeated Friday, although no evidence was offered.
The high-altitude images released Sunday “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,” according to labels on the pictures by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The most recent photograph, taken Saturday, shows what is described as “blast marks” from rocket launcher fire on the Russian side of the border, and “impact craters” inside Ukraine.
A photograph labeled as 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,” it said.
One image dated July 25/26 shows what DNI claims is “ground scarring” on the Russian side of the border from artillery aimed at Ukrainian military units in Ukraine, as well as the resultant ground craters on the Ukrainian side of the border:
A slide from a day earlier is said to show self-propelled artillery on the Russian side of the border oriented toward Ukraine, with impact areas near Ukrainian military units:
Another of the DigitalGlobe photos released by the Obama administration:
Curiously, the US State Department is urging those seeking objective data on this unfolding development to follow the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, the same person who was intercepted in plotting the downfall of the former Ukraine government in a leaked recorder conversation with US assistant secretary of state, Victoria Nuland, of "Fuck the EU" fame:
— Department of State (@StateDept) July 27, 2014
And from Pyatt:
Imagery: evidence Russian forces have fired across border at Ukr forces, and separatists have used artillery provided by Russia in attacks.
— Geoffrey Pyatt (@GeoffPyatt) July 27, 2014
Nonetheless, one does have to wonder: why would the ODNI, which shares intelligence with the NSA, have to resort to private-sector satellite imagery as proof? If there is anyone who has definitive evidence of anything happening in the world at any given moment and as seen from space, it would be the NSA.
To be sure, Russia once again promptly responded:
A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, charged Sunday that the United States is getting most of its intelligence data on the Russian military from social media and suggested it turn to more “trustworthy” information, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported.
Konashenkov denied recent U.S. statements that Russia, after first decreasing the number of troops it has deployed along the Ukrainian border, has now increased them to at least 15,000. Regular international inspections under the international Open Skies Treaty, he said, “have not registered any violations or undeclared military activity on the part of Russia in the areas adjacent to the Ukrainian border.”
The bottom line is perhaps best summarized by WaPo: "As the ground war between Russia-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine and government troops has escalated this past week, charges and countercharges between Russia and the West have reached fever pitch."
So while the "evidence" of the downing of MH17 by separatists will at this point likely not be forthcoming with the event having taken place over a week ago (at least not from the US State Department) aside from administration assurances that it is "common sense" that the rebels fired the missile, expect the "evidentiary" campaign to refocus back on the hostilities in east Ukraine, where as has been the case from the beginning of the conflict in March, it will be merely a continuation of the "he said, she said" propaganda war waged on both sides that the whole world has by now grown accustomed to, and where it is increasingly becoming clear that just like in the Syria conflict, the underlying motive is a very simple one: gas.