Russia accused of launching attack from its own soil on Ukraine
Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the US and Ukraine have charged.
Russia has accused Washington of lying and charged Ukraine with firing across the border on a Russian village. It also toughened its economic measures against Ukraine by banning dairy imports.
Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, said five salvos of heavy rockets were fired across the border near the town of Kolesnikov in the Luhansk region in the country's east.
A border crossing point near Marynovka was fired on twice with mortars, also from the Russian side, while Ukrainian forces shot down three Russian drones, Mr Lysenko said.
If true, the allegations mean Moscow is playing a more direct role in the fighting than it has been accused of up to now – a dangerous turn in what is already the gravest crisis between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.
In addition, Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the US has seen powerful rocket systems moving closer to the Ukraine border and that they could be put into the hands of the Russian-backed separatists as soon as Friday.
It wasn't clear what those developments mean for the international investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. US authorities believe the separatists shot it down with a missile, perhaps in the mistaken belief it was a military plane.
A small group of Dutch and Australian investigators have combed the sprawling, unsecured field where the plane came down on July 17.
They have been taking notes and photos as their governments prepared police detachments they hope can protect the crash site and help bring the last of the 298 victims home.
Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the Security Council will likely endorse any agreement that Netherlands and Australia reach with Ukraine on deploying their police to the site.