The U.S. State Department has issued a 10-point rebuttal
to Russian President Vladimir Putin's version of events in Ukraine, publishing a list of what it said are untruths.
The "fact sheet" is titled "President Putin's Fiction: 10 False Claims about Ukraine." Observers say its publication is a notable departure from standard procedure at the State Department, which rarely issues public statements suggesting a foreign leader is being untruthful.
"Mr. Putin says," the document begins, that "Russian forces in Crimea are only acting to protect Russian military assets." It continues with what it calls "the facts," citing "strong evidence [that] suggests that members of Russian security services are at the heart of the highly organized anti-Ukraine forces in Crimea."
The U.S. document concedes that the occupying force wears uniforms without insignia. But it says members of the occupation force drive vehicles with Russian military license plates "and freely identify themselves as Russian security forces when asked by the international media and the Ukrainian military."
The entire "fact sheet"
is posted on the State Department's website.
The U.S. rebuttal also criticizes Putin's claims that Russian-speaking citizens of Crimea are facing threats from Ukrainians. "Outside Russian press and Russian state television, there are no credible reports of any ethnic Russians being under threat" in the region, it says.
A U.S. official is quoted as saying the "fact sheet" will be translated into Russian.
The Russian embassy in Washington offered no immediate comment on the document.