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Fears are mounting that that the war in Donbas may escalate with Moscow-backed separatists increasing their Grad attacks on Ukrainian positions -- and on residential areas.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, is preparing to visit the annexed Crimean peninsula. German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier called the situation "explosive."

On this week's Power Vertical Briefing, I discuss the uptick in fighting with RFE/RL Senior Editor Steve Gutterman. Is a fresh Russian offensive coming? Or is this just Moscow's latest psyop?

Enjoy...

Power Vertical Briefing: Russia's Summer Offensive
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EDITOR'S NOTE: The Power Vertical Briefing is a short look ahead to the stories expected to make news in Russia in the coming week. It is hosted by Brian Whitmore, author of The Power Vertical blog, and appears every Monday.

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The Power Vertical
The Power Vertical

The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or

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