DONETSK, Ukraine/MINSK (Reuters) – Civilians were killed on both sides in heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine on Friday, while an attempt to reopen peace talks in neighboring Belarus was aborted before it began.
The Obama administration continues to resist appeals by U.S. lawmakers to provide lethal aid to Ukraine’s beleaguered military, even as deaths mount in the government’s conflict with pro-Russian separatists.
KYIV—It is quarter to midnight on the last night of 2014, and the mass of people pouring out of the Metro station near Sophia Square in the Ukrainian capital is so colorfully adorned it is almost unsettling. One of the more jarring aspects of Kyiv, for a first-time visitor like myself, is the strict black/gray monotony of local dress. On this night, though, the streets are filled with blue and yellow.
Nearly one year after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the crisis continues to deepen between Russian and Ukrainian forces over control of eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian army withdrew last week from the badly damaged Donetsk airport, one of its few remaining strongholds in the contested eastern portion of the country.
Russian military forces are crossing into eastern Ukraine in larger numbers, according to Phillip A. Karber, a Georgetown University professor currently on a fact-finding tour of the region.
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.
KIEV (Reuters) – An artillery shell or mortar struck a public transport stop in the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing at least eight civilians in an incident which both sides blamed on the other.