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Russia intends to provide more sophisticated weapons to the separatists in Ukraine in the very near future, U.S. defense officials said Friday. Pentagon spokesperson Col. Steve Warren said that the U.S. "has indications" that Russia intends to supply the separatists with large caliber multiple launch rocket systems. Warren stressed that the U.S. has seen a continuous flow of weapons and equipment from Russia into Ukraine for several weeks, and the rocket systems could be transferred across the border "at any time."

Reports Thursday indicated that Russia has been targeting Ukrainian military sites from across the border, which Warren said was "unquestionably an escalation, from a military perspective." The apparent strikes cause "great concern about civilian casualties," Warren said. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that U.S. accusations that Russia is firing over the border are "defamation" and "anti-Russian propaganda." The Foreign Ministry said that the U.S. doesn't have evidence to back up these claims.


— Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube