US allegations of Russia firing at Ukraine are ‘baseless’ – Russian MP

RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko

The imagery was released via email, along with a four-page document titled ‘Evidence of Russian Shelling into Ukraine.’ Four satellite images were included, all dating between July 21 and July 25/26.

They were all posted on Twitter by the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, on Sunday.

Read more: US releases satellite images ‘proving’ Russia is firing into Ukraine

The US “lies about obvious things,” said Franz Klintsevich, deputy chairman of the Lower House’s Defense Committee, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

He stated that the satellite images are not enough to point fingers at Russia and accuse it of shelling Ukraine. In order to confirm such claims, the data must be backed by other sources as well.

“The American dialogue today is simply unsubstantiated,” Klintsevich said, adding that he is not aware of Russia firing from its own territory into Ukraine.

While speaking about Ukrainian artillery frequently hitting Russian territory since the beginning of summer, Klintsevich said that several of his colleagues support the idea of precision strikes against those artillery machines used to target Russia.

On Friday, Ukraine’s army fired at least 45 mortar shells at targets located inside the Rostov-on-Don region, Russia’s border officials said. The barrage destroyed houses and forced an evacuation of civilians.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on Sunday that inspectors who came to check the state of Russian troops along the Ukrainian borders found no violations.

“No instances of violations by Russia along the Ukrainian border had been registered by the inspectors,” the ministry stated.

This came in response to the US alleging that 15,000 Russian troops had amassed in the area.

Read more: Intl. teams find ‘no violations’ by Russia along Ukrainian border

Russia has repeatedly denied allegations that it is taking part in the Ukrainian conflict, and the Russian Foreign Ministry called Washington’s charges “unsubstantiated innuendos.”

‘US allegations are ludicrous and unprofessional’

Military expert Igor Korotchenko challenged the so-called evidence released by Pyatt and questioned its authenticity.

“Publishing charges on the US ambassador to Ukraine’s Twitter and using them as a basis to argue that Russia is firing at Ukrainian territory is ludicrous and unprofessional,” Korotchenko told RT.

“In serious cases like that, I would recommend for the US to look into briefings, such as the recent briefing by Russia’s Defense Ministry. In it, everything was clear: satellite images were presented, they were decoded, and the pictures were as detailed as possible; everyone could make out the details,” he said.

“In addition to satellite imagery data, the satellite control and electronic intelligence were attached. There were also maps, plans, and diagrams included. On the US ambassador’s Twitter you cannot make anything out, even with a magnifying glass.”

“This is not serious at all, it is low-skilled work,” he added. “What was published by the US ambassador is part of an information campaign to force European countries to agree on anti-Russian sanctions.”

Observers on the border have not registered any discrepancies, Korotchenko said.

“During the last several weeks the combat area has been regularly monitored. At the time, a foreign military radar group, including individuals from the US, were working in Russia and nothing was found.”

Meanwhile, columnist and head of the Institute for Political Economy, Paul Craig Roberts, told RT that he also doubts the credibility of the photographs released by the State Department.

“I can state with complete confidence that information this important would not be released in this way,” Roberts said. “If this was released by the State Department, which I doubt, it is so unprofessional; it would mean that the State Department is trying to spread propaganda about Russia on social media. Now the way this type of information would be released would be at a press conference with a high level of government officials addressing the bureau chiefs of the major news organizations.”

He said that experts would explain the meaning of the photographs and their validity.

“The US government has been desperate to produce information to back up its claims. It would not release information in this way,” he stated, adding that anyone can spread information on social media.

Another military expert, Viktor Litovkin, said the US allegations are an attempt to distract the public from the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which crashed in Ukraine on July 17.

“This is an information campaign to distract the people’s attention from the tragedy of the Boeing 777, since more and more evidence is coming to light that Ukraine is responsible for the plane crash.”

Over 50 dead in Tripoli airport battle as foreigners leave collapsing Libya

Black plumes of smoke is seen in the vicinity of Camp Thunderbolt, after clashes between militants, former rebel fighters and government forces in Benghazi July 26, 2014.(Reuters / Esam Omran Al-Fetori)

One hundred people have died in the battle for the airport, with 400 others believed to be wounded, the country’s health ministry announced.

Over the past two weeks, radical Islamist militias have tried to wrest control of the airport from the Zintan militia, which made its name during battles against former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi three years ago, and has controlled the country’s international gateway since. Airplanes worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been destroyed in the shelling.

The crossfire led to additional casualties on Saturday.

There are 23 people dead after a Grad rocket fell on a house in Tripoli. Some of them are Egyptians, but we don’t know how many,” Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said.

On Friday, the government – which relies on a disparate coalition of loose allies to maintain any semblance of control – warned that the country is on the verge of political collapse.

The UK has evacuated all “non-core” members of its diplomatic mission, who fell victim to an attempted carjacking on Sunday when they came upon a militia checkpoint. Pictures later appeared online, showing bullet marks on the convoy of diplomatic cars.

Shots were fired at our vehicles but they managed to drive on and leave the area,” said mission spokesman Bob Phillipson.

An attack on the British Embassy convoy between #Tripoli & Zawiya no injuries

— Mohanid Elghadi مهند (@MElghadi) July 27, 2014

All embassy personnel are safe and accounted for and there were no injuries. In light of travel restrictions in and around Tripoli, we are reducing the number of staff at the embassy but we don’t comment on the details of staff security. The embassy remains open for core business.”

France has strictly instructed its citizens – many of whom may be in Libya working on oil and economic regeneration projects – to leave the country by all means possible. The United Nations mission departed the country a fortnight ago.

On Saturday, the US embassy evacuated 150 of its personnel to Tunisia, under heavy protection from fighter planes, helicopters, armored vehicles, and marine units, citing the “very close proximity [of the embassy quarters] to intense fighting.”

Earlier this week, a statement by the UN Security Council condemned the violence as “unacceptable” and called for all parties to open a “political dialogue” based on the results of June’s parliamentary election.

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