RUSSBORO, Russia — Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the latest attack by separatists in Ukraine a ‘war crime’ and vowed to respond.
On Thursday, Ukrainian forces fired four Grad missile launchers at the separatist positions in the eastern city of Mariupol.
But the latest missile attack was more powerful than previously seen and struck a military vehicle, according to the U.S. military.
The Russian military did not respond to requests for comment.
As a result, Ukraine says the Ukrainian military fired the missile in self-defense.
Putin said he was not surprised and that his government was ready to punish those responsible.
“I would not be surprised if some of those responsible for this act of aggression, who have been doing so for a long time, would be punished, too,” he said in a statement.
In the wake of the attack, Ukraine has accused Russia of sending its soldiers to the front line.
At the same time, Putin has ordered the U,S.
and NATO to intensify their military and political engagement with Russia in response to the escalating conflict in Ukraine.
U.S., NATO and other Western countries have already deployed some 1,000 troops and are providing training, supplies and other aid to the Ukrainian army.
Ukraine has said the Ukrainian troops were fired upon by separatist forces.
Read more: Ukrainian military says Ukrainian soldiers attacked by separatist soldiers in Mariupo, eastern Ukraine, July 26, 2017.