Reporters Demand Evidence from State Department for Its Anti-Russian Claims
July 27, 2014 • 9:36AM

Marie Harf, the State Department's deputy spokeswoman, is not getting as much respect from the press corps as she might think she deserves, especially over the past two days (July 24 and 25) when she asserted that Russia is shooting across the border into Ukraine and is preparing to provide heavy artillery to the separatist forces. On July 24, she announced the alleged shelling and heavier weapons. She refused to provide the "evidence" of these movements that she said the State Department had, citing "intelligence sources and methods," but the reporters in the room were not satisfied. They peppered her with questions about YouTube videos and social media, to the point that, obviously exasperated, Harf asked the reporters, "If I can't give you the source and method, would you prefer I not give you the information?" One reporter shot back, "I think that it would be best for all concerned here, if, when you make an allegation like that, you're able to back it up with something more than just 'because I say so.'"

Harf did herself no favors the next day, when she claimed there was no humanitarian crisis and that Russia is solely responsible for the civilian deaths in southeastern Ukraine that have resulted from the Kiev regime's military operations there. "Ukraine is a country with borders that Russia violated. It's not about not having a role," she said, "because Russia invaded a foreign country. The Ukrainians have a responsibility and a duty to protect their citizens and their territory, which is what they're doing. Russia should de-escalate, move back, and stop backing separatists who are taking down Ukrainian planes, fighter jets, as we've seen and are attacking innocent civilians."

When she was challenged again about the artillery allegedly going across the border, she said, "I can't underline the information that had led to that assessment. We don't have specifics about what those systems might look like to outline, but again, we're continuing to watch, continuing to gather information. And as we do, we'll attempt to share it."