The Kremlin's Defense Ministry doubts the veracity the recently-released US satellite images.
Russia's Defense Ministry has called the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence a bunch of liars. This comes after the U.S. released images implicating Russia in firing across the Ukrainian border.
This past week, Russia called for the U.S. to provide evidence backing up their claims that were directly attacking Ukrainian forces. Anatoly Antonov, deputy defense minister, argued that U.S. intelligence officers had not properly assessed the situation and "mostly cited social networks." However, now that U.S. responded with actual images, the Kremlin is issuing more complaints attacking the authenticity of the evidence, rather than dealing with the implication of the evidence.
Yesterday evening, images became public which show Russian forces firing at Ukrainian forces across the border. As per the caption written by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the images "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."
In response to this, Russia's Defense Ministry called the satellite images "fake." They also claimed the images were created by U.S. officials "with close links to Ukraine’s Security Council" and the Ministry believes it is impossible to confirm their authenticity.
The Defense Ministry went on to attack U.S. ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, who tweeted the images. Igor Konashenkov from the Russian Defense Ministry issued this statement, as reported by RT:
These materials were posted to Twitter not by accident, as their authenticity is impossible to prove – due to the absence of the attribution to the exact area, and an extremely low resolution. Let alone using them as ‘photographic evidence’.
Pictures [like this] have also been provided by Kiev representatives as an excuse for the usage of heavy artillery and other weaponry by the Ukrainian army – against the country’s civilian population [...]
It’s no secret to anyone that fakes like this are made by a group of US counselors staying in the Kiev building of the Security Council, led by General Randy Kee."
In the opinion of Russian defense officials, the images were created by U.S. officials in Ukraine, then given to the Ukrainian media as "disinformation," then the news reports are presented to U.S. officials afterwards as a formal statement. After this process is complete, the Ukrainian media can cite the U.S. officials as the source, in order to show "objectivity."
It is important to remember that RT has been called a mouthpiece for the Russian government in the past. Secretary of State John Kerry called RT a "propaganda bullhorn." Journalist Sara Firth resigned from RT on the day of the MH17 crash, saying her reason for leaving was misinformation she believed RT was spreading about the crash.
The U.S. Department of Intelligence has not yet replied to these accusations of "fake" evidence.
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