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Washington (AFP) — The United States on Thursday said it had evidence Russian forces were firing artillery from inside Russia on Ukrainian troops, in what officials called a “clear escalation” of the conflict.

Moscow is also planning to “deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers” to the pro-Russian separatist forces in Ukraine, U.S. deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

The evidence was based on “intelligence information” indicating arms were “continuing to flow across the border” into Ukraine since the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner with 298 on board, Harf said.

But she refused to reveal the evidence behind the allegation or give further information.

“They’re firing artillery from within Russia to attack Ukrainian military,” Harf told reporters.

Washington, however, was still looking into the downing of two Ukrainian fighter jets on Wednesday. Kiev has alleged the warplanes were hit by missiles fired from Russian territory.

The shelling by Russian forces against Ukrainian positions had been “going on for several days,” said Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren.

“It’s a clear escalation,” Warren told reporters.

The Pentagon did not specify the precise location of the Russian artillery units or the artillery fire.

AFP Photo/Genya Savilov

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Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

When it rains, pieces of glass, pottery, and metal rise through the mud in the hills surrounding my Maryland home. The other day, I walked outside barefoot to fetch one of my kid's shoes and a pottery shard stabbed me in the heel. Nursing a minor infection, I wondered how long that fragment dated back.

A neighbor of mine found what he said looked like a cartridge case from an old percussion-cap rifle in his pumpkin patch. He told us that the battle of Monocacy had been fought on these grounds in July 1864, with 1,300 Union and 900 Confederate troops killed or wounded here. The stuff that surfaces in my fields when it storms may or may not be battle artifacts, but it does remind me that the past lingers and that modern America was formed in a civil war.

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