Skip to main content

Pentagon: Russia getting ready to send more powerful weapons into Ukraine

By Barbara Starr, CNN
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Ukrainian soldiers sit on an armored vehicle as they take up a position in a sunflower field near Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, July 10. Here's a look at the upheaval that has persisted in eastern Ukraine since the election of President Petro Poroshenko. Ukrainian soldiers sit on an armored vehicle as they take up a position in a sunflower field near Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, July 10. Here's a look at the upheaval that has persisted in eastern Ukraine since the election of President Petro Poroshenko.
HIDE CAPTION
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine under new elected leadership
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
Ukraine after the election
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Imagery shows burn marks on the Russian side of the border, indicating artillery was fired
  • The EU steps up pressure against Russia for fomenting the Ukraine crisis
  • The Pentagon says the weaponry transfer could be "imminent"

Washington (CNN) -- Russia is preparing the transfer of more powerful weaponry into Ukraine, and it could happen at any time, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday, citing the latest U.S. intelligence.

The transfer could be "imminent," the spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, told reporters. It's believed the weaponry will be driven into Ukraine "potentially today," he said, but it is not clear if Russian troops will be involved.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf also warned of the possibility Thursday, telling reporters, "We have new evidence that the Russians intend to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers to the separatist forces in Ukraine and have evidence that Russia is firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military positions."

The United States has imagery showing weaponry, with burn marks in the grass, on the Russian side of the border, indicating that artillery was fired, a U.S. official tells CNN. The images remain classified and were not shared with CNN.

How rebels in Ukraine built up an arsenal capable of reaching the skies

The Russian military has more powerful rocket launcher systems than the ones that have been sent across the border in the past. Intelligence indicates just under a dozen systems may be part of this latest shipment, according to a U.S. official.

Everything Russia is doing, Warren said, is "unquestionably an escalation."

Earlier Friday, the European Union stepped up pressure against Russians and others it blames for fomenting the crisis in Ukraine, banning visas and freezing the assets of 15 more people and 18 more companies and organizations.

Things to know about Russia and sanctions

The EU's move, which aims to punish those supporting a months-long pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine, comes as international pressure was stepped up on the rebels in a related issue: the discovery and return of more victims' remains from last week's crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in rebel-held territory.

Details about who was sanctioned Friday weren't immediately available. But the EU and the United States previously have targeted Russians and Ukrainians they say have assisted the rebellion and Russia's annexation in March of the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea -- such as Vladimir Shamanov, commander of Russian airborne troops.

The move brings the total number of EU sanctions in the Ukraine crisis to 87, and the number of entities to 20. The EU on Friday also widened its criteria for future sanctions, saying it would now look to punish not only those who are aiding the rebellion, but also those benefiting "from Russian decision makers responsible" for it.

Who are Ukraine's pro-Russia rebels?

Ukraine President: The world must choose sides

Opinion: Are the pro-Russian rebels terrorists?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1258 GMT (2058 HKT)
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 broke apart in the air after it was hit by a burst of "high-energy objects" from outside, a preliminary report by Dutch aviation investigators said Tuesday.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
"There were many scenes that defied logic," writes OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw, who was one of the first international observers to arrive at the site.
September 3, 2014 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
On a country road in eastern Ukraine, a scene of bucolic tranquility was suddenly interrupted by the aftermath of carnage.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
In the city of Donetsk, the devastation wrought by weeks of fighting between pro-Russia rebels and Ukrainian forces is all too apparent.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 0000 GMT (0800 HKT)
CNN's Diana Magnay reports from the front lines in the Ukrainian conflict.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1126 GMT (1926 HKT)
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT)
It's been building for months. And now, according to some, Russia has launched a "full-scale invasion" of Ukraine.
August 23, 2014 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
A shopkeeper's mutilated body, relatives' anguish, homes destroyed ... this is Donetsk.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
A 20-minute drive from Kiev takes you to a neighborhood that feels more like Beverly Hills than central Ukraine.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1418 GMT (2218 HKT)
Photos illustrate the ongoing crisis in Ukraine as fighting continues to flare in the region.
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1234 GMT (2034 HKT)
Western leaders stepped up sanctions, but the Russian President shows no sign of backing down.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1631 GMT (0031 HKT)
Future imports, exports between the EU and Russia are now banned -- but existing contracts continue.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
August 1, 2014 -- Updated 2037 GMT (0437 HKT)
Information about Ukraine, the second-largest European country in area after Russia.
Learn more about the victims, ongoing investigation and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
The downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 put the pro-Russia rebels operating in Ukraine's eastern region center stage.
ADVERTISEMENT