U.S. Commander: Russian Support to Ukrainian Separatists Has ‘Doubled’

Kremlin ignoring terms of ceasefire agreement

The top U.S. Army commander in Europe says Russia has substantially increased its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine since a ceasefire agreement was reached last September, the Hill reports. Continue reading

Russian-Backed Rebels Launch Assault on Donetsk Airport

The Russian-backed separatists are reportedly firing artillery at the airport grounds that are controlled by Ukrainian government troops. Five government soldiers and some rebels died in the fighting, according to Ukraine’s Defense Council, and there were additional reports of civilian casualties on Wednesday.

Ongoing clashes in Donetsk, where the separatists say they have established an independent “People’s Republic,” violate the ceasefire agreement reached last month in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Both sides agreed to put down arms and release prisoners.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said this week that the rebel offensive could derail the ceasefire

Donald Jensen, resident fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Transatlantic Relations, said in an interview that the Russian-backed rebels in some ways never intended to comply with the ceasefire. Still, Russian President Vladimir Putin might want to maintain a frozen conflict and not push for more territory in Ukraine. Continue reading