Images reveal Russian artillery near Ukraine town, US says

The United States released satellite images on Saturday showing the Russian military purportedly aiding separatists in an assault on the Ukrainian Army. 

Prior to a ceasefire being called on Thursday, elbowing for positioning was expected — but it resulted in a bloody fight in the town of Debaltseve, the New York Times reports

Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, posted three satellite images to Twitter on Saturday apparently showing the snowy fields of Debaltseve covered in smoke and Russian armaments.

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"We are confident these are Russian military, not separatist, systems," Pyatt said in a tweet. 

In another post on Twitter, Pyatt said "Russian military also has air defense systems deployed near Debatseve. 

A third image purported to show smoky plumes of "multiple rocket launcher deployment."

Pyatt added that Russian military forces along the border are "preparing a large shipment of supple to 'seps' fighting in eastern Ukraine."

The images, together with the fighting that broke out prior to the ceasefire, have heightened concerns that the agreement will not hold up. 

The Group of 7 countries and the European Union may yet impose more sanctions on Russia given the situation in Ukraine.