"There is no NATO legion. The foreign forces in Ukraine are Russian. We condemn the sharp escalation of violence along the ceasefire line in eastern Ukraine by Russian-backed separatists... The attack was launched from territory controlled by separatists backed by Russia... In recent weeks, Russia has supplied hundreds of pieces of advanced equipment, including rocket systems, heavy artillery, tanks, armored vehicles and electronic warfare systems."
The Russian ambassador to the OSCE, Andrey Kelin, strongly denied the Stoltenberg allegations, saying that the fighters are using old Soviet-era equipment that was captured from Ukrainian Army units. Indeed, OSCE monitors reported last week that the rebels were using T-80 tanks in Donetsk, which have been in production since 1976 and are manufactured in Ukraine.
Hardliners in Europe, including Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, are pressing for new sanctions against Russia, based on the unsubstantiated assertion that Russia was behind the Mariupol shelling. Even opponents of new sanctions, including German Foreign Minister Steinmeier, conceded that "proof" of the Russian role in Mariupol "would be a qualitative change in the situation." European foreign ministers will be meeting on Thursday to discuss new sanctions.
In Kiev, the Supreme Rada Tuesday adopted a resolution dubbing Russia "an aggressor state."
by LaRouche PAC