A time for U.N. action

Revelations Thursday that rockets have been fired from Russia into the Ukraine have radically upped the ante in that conflict.

Until those charges it could have been argued that the battle in Ukraine was a civil war between pro-Russian separatists and pro-government forces. But if Russia is firing on pro-government units – or even allowing the rebels to use its land to launch rockets – then the tenor is completely changed.

It becomes a state-on-state war that the rest of the world can’t ignore.

One would have thought Russia would be keeping a lower profile after the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over rebel-held territory last week. There is overwhelming evidence the plane was brought down by a missile fired from a Russian-made BUK mobile launching system. Ukraine government videos show a BUK missile launcher crossing the border back into Russia shortly after the downing of the jetliner. One of its four missiles is missing in the video.

Analysts contend the launcher is so sophisticated that, at the very least, the Russians would have to teach the rebels how to use it. At the worst, there is speculation that Russian technicians may have fired the missile.

The United Nations now must take up the issue of rockets being fired from Russia into eastern Ukraine. Again, an attack by one sovereign nation upon another is a worldwide problem – not merely a regional conflict.

Russia has boldly upped the stakes in the Ukraine. The U.N. must insist that Russia stop the cross-border shelling and give full assistance into the downing of Flight 17.

It’s time for the rest of the world to let Vladimir Putin know it is outraged by Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.