DUSHANBE, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow is concerned by reports that Ukraine’s government troops have used ballistic missiles against independence supporters in the country’s east, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko Tuesday confirmed the country’s readiness to provide access to international experts to the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane in Donetsk Region, declaring a unilateral ceasefire within a 20-kilometer (12-mile) radius.
“Now, unfortunately, actions suggest the opposite: Donetsk, Luhansk and other villages in these regions are being shelled with Grad rocket launchers, artillery and tanks.”
On Tuesday, citing US officials CNN reported that Ukraine’s government troops used short-range ballistic missiles in the east. The weapons have a range of about 50 miles and pack warheads of up to 1,000 pounds.
These missiles could have been fired from a Tochka short-range ballistic missile system (NATO Designation SS-21 Scarab), the report said. If the reports are accurate, these are “the most deadly missiles to date used in the conflict,” CNN said.
“All this is concerning, and everything is happening amid allegations that Russia and the militia are impeding inspectors’ access to the [Boeing] crash site,” Lavrov told a group of young Tajik diplomats.
The military governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Grachev, said earlier Tuesday eastern Ukrainian militia forces have found what appears to be a ballistic missile warhead in Luhansk Region.
A spokesman from Ukraine’s National Security information center, Andriy Lysenko, rejected the report, saying that Ukraine has no such missiles.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the Kiev government intensified military operations against its own people after getting support from Western countries.
Moscow has described the ongoing military action as a punitive operation and has repeatedly called on Kiev to put an immediate end to the bloodshed.