This is the second time in less than a month that Russia-backed separatists have successfully launched lethal attacks on Ukrainian troops. Separatist fighters used antitank weapons and heavy artillery on Wednesday to defeat Ukrainian forces in one of their strongholds, according to Ukraine’s military. The assault came within days of Ukraine successfully pushing back another separatist offensive near the port city of Mariupol. Earlier this week, pro-Russian rebels launched an attack on a strategic airport in eastern Ukraine that forced the closure of all flights for several days. Last month, separatists also managed to capture two towns after surprise counterattacks against Ukrainian forces. Though these advances were reversed with the help of reinforcements and heavy artillery fire from government units, they showed how capable separatist fighters are when they are able to coordinate attacks on other frontlines simultaneously.

Russian military drills in eastern Ukraine prompt fears of more conflict

Ukrainian

On March 16, Ukraine’s government accused Russia of conducting military drills involving thousands of soldiers on Ukraine’s border with Russia. The announcement alarmed eastern Ukrainians, who have watched warily as Russian troops have bolstered the separatist forces in an ongoing conflict. The concern is that the increased military presence near the border could be a sign that Russia plans to intervene militarily in Ukraine. It is unclear how seriously the Ukrainian government is taking the threat. Ukraine has accused Russia of preparing for an invasion for months. Separatist leaders, however, have repeatedly denied these claims. Ukraine’s accusations come amid a period of rising tensions between Russia and the West. Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russia in recent months.

New leaders shake up Ukraine’s government

Quick turnover in Ukraine’s government has caused concern about the stability of the country’s leadership. Shortly after Russia illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in March, Ukraine’s parliament ousted the country’s leader in a no-confidence vote. Ukraine’s parliament has been in a state of political turmoil since the former pro-Russia government was ousted in February. The political instability has prompted Ukraine’s new leadership to push for a new election. For now, parliament has delayed the vote until October, but it still is likely to oust the current government. The new election will likely lead to a new coalition government, giving Ukraine’s leadership more stability.

Why is fighting so deadly in eastern Ukraine?

Ukraine has been fighting pro-Russian separatists in the country’s eastern regions since 2014. While the conflict has largely centered in the east, it has also spilled over into the west of the country, where government forces and separatists have clashed in the country’s capital, Kyiv. In recent months, both sides have tried to use low-scale, localized attacks to provoke a larger, all-out war. In one notable incident, a car bomb near Kyiv on New Year’s Eve killed around 30 people and injured more than 100 others. The attack was part of an effort by Ukraine’s government to blame the separatists for the event, which may have been a sign of things to come in the country’s east.

Russia and the separatists have a long history of bloody conflict

The current conflict in Ukraine is the continuation of a bloody separatist movement. The separatists have long maintained that they want to be part of Russia and have accused the Ukrainian government of being Western puppets. The struggle for control of eastern Ukraine, however, has seen a rise in fighting in recent months, as both sides have become increasingly desperate. The fighting has been deadly enough that observers have compared it to the intensity of the Cold War and even World War II. In the months since Russia annexed Crimea, the conflict in eastern Ukraine has left more than 9,000 people dead, according to an estimate from the United Nations.

What it all means for US foreign policy

US foreign policy toward Russia has been in a state of change since President Donald Trump assumed office. Trump, who has frequently praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, has cast himself as a neutral arbiter between Russia and the West. US Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, has taken a tough stance against Russia, traveling to Europe to warn of a new era of American isolationism. Some experts warn against overreacting to the latest round of fighting in eastern Ukraine. Of greater concern are indications that Russia may be preparing for a military invasion of Ukraine. If Russia does invade Ukraine, it will be the first time the country has intervened directly in a foreign conflict since the end of the Cold War.

What the US should do

If Russia does invade Ukraine, the US should shoot down any invading aircraft in international airspace. If Russia sends ground troops into Ukraine, the US should provide military support to Ukraine. The US should also work with its European allies to impose sanctions on Russia if it invades Ukraine. In the long term, the US needs to work with other countries to build a united front against Russia. This includes strengthening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and creating a united front against Russia in the United Nations Security Council.

Russian military drills in eastern Ukraine prompt fears of more conflict\nOn March 16, Ukraine’s government accused Russia of conducting military drills involving thousands of soldiers on Ukraine’s border with Russia. The announcement alarmed eastern Ukrainians, who have watched warily as Russian troops have bolstered the separatist forces in an ongoing conflict. The concern is that the increased military presence near the border could be a sign that Russia plans to intervene militarily in Ukraine. It is unclear how seriously the Ukrainian government is taking the threat. Ukraine has accused Russia of preparing for an invasion for months. Separatist leaders, however, have repeatedly denied these claims. Ukraine’s accusations come amid a period of rising tensions between Russia and the West. Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russia in recent months.

It is unclear how seriously the Ukrainian government is taking the threat. Ukraine has accused Russia of preparing for an invasion for months. Separatist leaders, however, have repeatedly denied these claims. Ukraine’s accusations come amid a period of rising tensions between Russia and the West. Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russia in recent months. New leaders shake up Ukraine’s government On March 16, Ukraine’s government was ousted in a no-confidence vote by parliament. The political instability has prompted Ukraine’s new leadership to push for a new election.

For now, parliament has delayed the vote until October, but it still is likely to oust the current government. The new election will likely lead to a new coalition government, giving Ukraine’s leadership more stability. Why is fighting so deadly in eastern Ukraine? Ukraine has been fighting pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east since 2014.  Some experts warn against overreacting to the latest round of fighting in eastern Ukraine. END

Ukrainian forces

New leaders shake up Ukraine’s government\nOn March 16, Ukraine’s government was ousted in a no-confidence vote by parliament. The political instability has prompted Ukraine’s new leadership to push for a new election. For now, parliament has delayed the vote until October, but it still is likely to oust the current government. The new election will likely lead to a new coalition government, giving Ukraine’s leadership more stability.

Why is fighting so deadly in eastern Ukraine? Ukraine has been fighting pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east since 2014. While the conflict has largely centered in the east, it has also spilled over into the west of the

Ukrainian forces

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