Ukrainian military orchestras popped up to perform in airports around the country on January 20 to commemorate the brutal battle that destroyed the international airport near the eastern city of Donetsk. Ukraine officially marks today as the Day of the Defenders of Donetsk Airport in memory of the fierce fighting between government forces and Russia-backed separatists from September 2014 until January 2015. (RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)
Here is today's map of the security situation in eastern Ukraine, according to the National Security and Defense Council (click to enlarge):
Kyiv asks OSCE to expand monitoring mission:
Foreign Minister Vadym Prystayko says Ukraine has asked the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to expand its monitoring mission in Ukraine.
Prystayko made the announcement on January 20 after a meeting with OSCE Chairman-in-Office Edi Rama.
The OSCE's special monitoring mission has been present in Ukraine since 2014, when fighting broke out in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed separatists after Russia's annexation of Crimea.
The war has killed more than 14,000 people and devastated Ukraine's industrial heartland.
The mission's civilian monitors keep track in particular of the situation in the war-torn regions, with a special task of facilitating dialogue between the sides of the conflict. Its mandate expires on March 31.
Prystayko said Kyiv asked the OSCE not only to extend the duration of the mission, but to "expand its possibilities and human resources" and support it financially.
Rama called the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine "the most pressing challenge to security and stability in Europe today."
Leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany held talks in December, hoping to revive a 2015 peace deal. The talks didn't produce a breakthrough, but were hailed by both Russia and Ukraine as encouraging. (Reuters, Interfax)
Some photos from yesterday when the remains of the 11 Ukrainian victims of the Flight PS752 plane disaster in Iran arrived in Kyiv.