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With civilian casualties mounting from indiscriminant shelling, UN officials today condemned both the Ukrainian army and separatists backed by Russia. High-level former officials want the Obama Administration to change course and equip Ukraine with sophisticated and accurate weapons. That could mean hitting Russian soldiers—a cost that Vladimir Putin supposedly can’t afford. Or, it could provoke further escalation in Ukraine and elsewhere. Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Kiev tomorrow as debate rages about America’s options.

Also, the defense secretary condemns military spending run rampant, and did Saudi Arabia’s Royal Family support al Qaeda before September 11th?

Banner Image: A member of the armed forces of the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic holds up a large-caliber bullet for the camera in Vuhlehirsk, Donetsk region, February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Defense Secretary Nominee Says Military Spending is a Mess 6 MIN, 30 SEC

Ashton Carter is likely to be confirmed as President Obama’s fourth Defense Secretary, but Republicans today began what’s expected to be a marathon confirmation hearing, chaired by Arizona’s John McCain. One subject was waste at the Pentagon. Kate Brannen is senior reporter at the Pentaton for Foreign Policy magazine.

Kate Brannen, Just Security (@k8brannen)

US Considers “Lethal Aid” to Ukraine Forces 34 MIN, 36 SEC

With Russian-backed separatists advancing in Ukraine, there’s pressure on the Obama Administration to provide the government with weapons sophisticated enough to strike back effectively. Is that the best answer to provocations by Vladimir Putin—or could it lead to a wider war?

Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Kiev tomorrow, amid reports that the Obama Administration may change course and provide the Ukrainian army with high-tech weaponry for use against separatists backed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Paul Sonne, Wall Street Journal (@PaulSonne)
Steven Pifer, Brookings Institution (@steven_pifer)
Andrew S. Weiss, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (@andrewsweiss)
Garry Kasparov, Human Rights Foundation (@Kasparov63)

‘20th Hijacker’ Says Members of Saudi Royal Family Funded al Qaeda 8 MIN, 55 SEC

Today’s New York Times reports on “highly unusual testimony inside the federal supermax prison,” where Zacarias Moussaoui is serving a life sentence. He’s the so-called “20th hijacker,” who was in jail on immigration charges when his co-conspirators conducted the attacks of September 11th. Now he has implicated the Saudi Royal Family in planning for the attacks. Scott Shane is the reporter.

Scott Shane, New York Times (@ScottShaneNYT)

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