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'Nobody Can Prove' Russian Link to Ukraine Rebels, Diplomat Says

The United States has no proof Moscow is amassing heavy weapons along its Ukrainian border and backing separatists believed to have shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, according to a Russian diplomat. Leonid P. Moiseev, Vladimir Putin's ambassador to Singapore, made the denial hours after Barack Obama imposed harsh new sanctions on Russian banks aimed at forcing the Kremlin to withdraw its support for the rebels.

Speaking to CNBC, Moiseev said U.S. satellite images appearing to show Russian forces firing across the border and moving heavy artillery into the region "proved not to be real." He also denied Washington’s allegation that the pro-Putin rebels, who have lost ground to Ukrainian government troops in recent weeks, are being trained and supplied by Russia. "Nobody can prove that there's a build-up," Mosieev said, adding that Russian troops previously stationed near Ukraine's border for military exercises had been removed. He also reiterated the Russian Defense Ministry’s claim that a Ukrainian fighter jet was near the Boeing 777 when it was shot down. U.S. intelligence officials have "categorically denied" that account to NBC News.

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- Alexander Smith