NATO Confirms Ukraine Used Short-Range Ballistic Missiles, Then Denies Its Confirmation

Did NATO confirm a CNN report, earlier this week, that the Kiev regime had used ballistic missiles in its military campaign against anti-coup rebels in southeastern Ukraine, and then, under pressure from the regime, change its mind? A Deutsche Welle report, dated this Saturday morning, would seem to indicate that’s what happened. CNN broke the story on July 21, citing unnamed DOD officials as the source and pointing out that, if true, it would present a problem for the West, as it has painted the regime as “the good guys.” The specific claim was that the Kiev regime had fired SS-21 short-range ballistic missiles (Russian name “Tochka”). Anti-Kiev militia sources claimed that the targets were the hotly contested strategic hill called Saur Mogila, in southern Donetsk Region, and possibly the MH17 plane crash site.

On the record, the Pentagon did not confirm the story and the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, who was in Washington visiting Secretary of State John Kerry at the time, denied it. On Friday (Aug. 1), DW reported that a NATO official had confirmed that the Ukrainian Army had indeed fired ballistic missiles, though how many and from where to where is still unsaid. Then, Ukraine Defense Minister Valeri Heletey issued another denial, as did Andriy Lysenko, the national security spokesman. After these Ukrainian denials, NATO evidently changed its mind. “As of now, NATO has no official confirmation of a ballistic missile use by Ukrainian forces,” a NATO military officer told RIA Novosti. In any case, NATO supports the regime doing whatever it wants in the contested regions as a matter of “self-defense.”

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