Thursday, November 20, 2014


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Live Blog: Ukraine In Crisis

November 19, 2014

Residents of the Prtrovskyi neighborhood of Donetsk take refuge in a shelter.
Residents of the Prtrovskyi neighborhood of Donetsk take refuge in a shelter.

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Major News From Thursday, November 20

 

-- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Kyiv amid reports that he could announce an increase in nonlethal military assistance to Ukraine.

 

-- Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the European Union and the United States should join Ukraine in forcing Russia to stick to a peace deal to end the conflict there.

 

-- President Vladimir Putin said Moscow must do all it can to prevent extremism and stop "color revolutions" from reaching Russia.

 

-- The United Nations said fighting in eastern Ukraine had killed an average of 13 people a day since a cease-fire between government forces and pro-Russian rebels was signed on September 5, or 957 people in those eight weeks.

 

*NOTE: Times are stated according to local time in Kyiv


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That concludes our live blogging for Thursday, November 20. Follow our continuing coverage of events in Ukraine and elsewhere in RFE/RL's broadcast region HERE.

And follow U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's continuing visit to Ukraine here:

Biden Arrives In Ukraine Amid Reports Of Boost In Nonlethal Military Aid

 

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One year after the Maidan unrest began with protests in central Kyiv:

Faces Of The Maidan: Where Are They Now?

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From our newsroom:

Reuters quotes U.S. officials as saying privately that the nonlethal aid Biden could announce in Kyiv includes Humvees from excess supplies in the Pentagon's inventory, as well as the delivery of previously promised radars that can detect the location of enemy mortars.

The reports do not  specify a dollar value for the assistance.

Russia warned the United States on November 20 against supplying arms to Ukrainian forces.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich cautioned against "a major change in policy of the (U.S.) administration in regard to the conflict" in Ukraine.

Previous non-lethal aid to Ukraine includes $53 million announced in September for military equipment such as counter-mortar detection units, body armor, binoculars, small boats and other gear for Ukraine's security forces and border guards in the east.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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Wherein Ukrinform "informs" us that Dnipropetrovsk's military hospital is staffed by a team of "guardian angels" and their puppy.

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An explosion struck a military convoy in Mariupol, injuring two people.

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Current Brookings Institution senior fellow and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (1998-2000) Steven Pifer, in a telephone interview with RFE/RL, talked about deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken's suggestion yesterday, at a confirmation hearing to become deputy secretary of state, that the U.S. should consider defensive lethal aid to Ukraine:

"It's significant if the U.S. government is thinking in these terms, because two months ago the U.S. government's view was: Providing arms to Ukraine would run the risk of Russian escalation. The fact that somebody like Tony Blinken goes up at his level and says that suggests to me that there is now serious consideration within the U.S. government to providing defensive arms. I don't know whether that decision has been made or not."

"The importance, it seems to me, of them -- of the provision of the weapons -- is that it might increase the Ukrainians' capacity to defend themselves and hopefully deter further Russian military action against the backdrop of the reports now over the last 10-12 days of increased deployments of Russian forces and equipment into Eastern Ukraine."

"My guess is that it is beyond the capacity of the U.S. to provide enough weapons for Ukraine and the Ukrainian army to defeat the Russian army. The focus here is: Can you provide the Ukrainian military with the capability to inflict greater costs on the Russian army, so that if there's consideration in the Kremlin to renewing large-scale military action, that they're also looking at greater costs, greater casualties."

"I think one thing that has perhaps changed in the calculation is a couple of months ago -- when the administration at the time was reluctant and they did not want to trigger an escalation -- two months ago you were at a point where the Minsk agreement had just been signed. There was, I won't say expectation, but there was certainly hope that the Minsk terms would lead the way to not only a genuine cease-fire but a more lasting process that would aim at some kind of a settlement. I think now, two months and two weeks after Minsk, it's pretty clear that the Minsk terms are not being fulfilled by the other side."

"My guess is that if they do move to lethal things, you're looking at things like light anti-tank weapons, that would actually be used to defend against and destroy, for example, enemy tanks."

"I think it's significant. I don't think Tony Blinken in that kind of setting would sort of idly be saying something like that."

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