FROM Christopher J. Miller
Fighting flares up in Eastern Ukraine For the first time in nearly a year large-scale fighting has broken out between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country. The conflict there has been ongoing for nearly three years now. A ceasefire was signed in 2015, but skirmishes and artillery fire have continued. The current fighting is the first test of President Trump's call for improved US-Russia relations. Christopher Miller, Ukraine Correspondent for Radio Free Europe , has more on the escalation of fighting.
Ukraine Government and Rebels Accused of Using Cluster Bombs The Ukrainian Army is being accused of firing cluster munitions into Donetsk, a city of more than a million people now held by pro-Russian separatists. That’s according to Human Rights Watch, which says there’s evidence in the city and near artillery installations in Army-held territory. Christopher Miller joins us from Kiev. He is a senior correspondent for the online news site Mashable .
Both Sides Blame Each Other for Downed Malaysian Airliner A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 280 passengers and 15 crew members aboard crashed early today in Eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, where separatists have been fighting government forces. There appear to be no survivors. Christopher Miller is editor for the Kiev Post in Ukraine and correspondent for Mashable.
Violence, Propaganda, Diplomacy and Eastern Ukraine Amid reports that two Ukrainian helicopters were shot down today, President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met at the White House. They warned Russia not to allow disruption of Ukraine's election, planned for May 25, and threatened further sanctions. The President heaped scorn on what he called Russian propaganda about the source of the violence. "The notion that this is some spontaneous uprising in Eastern Ukraine is belied by the fact the evidence, of a well-organized trained militia that have the surface to arm missiles or whatever it takes to shoot down helicopters, tragically."
Ukraine and Crimea: The Fallout Continues In yesterday's speech to Russia's ruling elite, Vladimir Putin said , according to this translation, "Don't believe those who scare you with Russia, who yell that Crimea will be followed by other regions." He said he did not intend to further divide Ukraine, but that annexing Crimea is part of re-unifying what he calls "historical Russia." Despite international outrage, it looks like a done deal. So far, Russia is feeling no pain from economic sanctions, but the US and Europe plan three steps of escalation starting tomorrow. How much economic damage will the West have to absorb in order to make a difference? Might Ukraine be better off without a restive Crimea? What will a confrontation with Russia mean for US policy toward Syria and Iran?
Crimean Parliament Votes to Join Russia and Hold Referendum President Obama today ordered sanctions that could apply to both Russians and Ukrainians, a move to "impose a cost on Russia and those responsible for the situation in Crimea." No specific names of individuals covered by that order have been announced. Meantime, in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, parliament voted to hold a referendum to join Russia in just ten days time. Christopher Miller, an editor of the Kyiv Post , is in Simferopol.
Bloodshed in Ukraine It's been another day of bloody clashes between police and protesters in Kiev, Ukraine's capital city. President Viktor Yanukovych says opposition leaders are trying to seize power by force, requiring him to order a crackdown. In Paris, US Secretary of State John Kerry responded to today's developments by "talking about the possibility of sanctions or other steps with our friends in Europe and elsewhere in order to try to create the environment for compromise." So what's at stake for Russia, and what's expected from Vladimir Putin?
Ukrainian Prime Minister Resigns Ukraine's embattled President Viktor Yanukovych has accepted the resignation of his prime minister — effectively dismissing his entire cabinet. Parliament has abolished anti-dissident legislation that led to a failed police crackdown. But those concessions are not enough for the street protesters who've seized government buildings in Kiev and in the rest of the country. Christopher Miller is an editor with the English-language Kyiv Post .
Ukraine: More Dangerously Divided than Ever Riot police used clubs, shields and tear gas to attack lines of hand-holding demonstrators early this morning in Kiev, Ukraine's capital city. Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed " disgust " at the use of force against a peaceful protest. It started almost three weeks ago when President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a deal with the European Union, apparently under pressure from Russia. Now it's about civil rights and demands for him to step down. We update today's action, the role of billionaire oligarchs and the international fallout.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?