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Putin Escalates Again in Ukraine

BN-JW736_edp081_J_20150817134936A man stands on debris in a destroyed house after recent shelling in Sartana village on August 17. Photo: Sergey Vaganov/European Pressphoto Agency

The Pentagon is ready to upgrade Kiev’s radar, but White House authorization isn’t forthcoming.

Russian proxies in occupied eastern Ukraine shelled Ukrainian-government positions over the weekend and on Monday. The artillery barrage killed two civilians and wounded several others in Sartana, near the Sea of Azov. It’s one of the larger-scale escalations of the conflict since a winter cease-fire. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration continues to withhold a radar upgrade that would allow Ukrainian forces to protect against shelling.

Moscow and Kiev agreed under the Minsk II accord negotiated in February to cease hostilities, create a buffer zone and withdraw heavy weapons. Yet “to a big extent [the Russian side] continually violates the agreement,” Gen. Viktor Muzhenko, the chief of staff of Ukraine’s armed forces, told us in a rare interview before the latest escalation. “Some days we can have 80 to 100 violations.”
Opinion Journal Video

Editorial Writer Sohrab Ahmari discusses renewed fighting on the Ukrainian border and why the White House won’t help Kiev. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Russian violations range from small-arms fire to covert infiltration to the heavy shelling on the weekend. The Kremlin’s aim is to gradually break the will of the Ukrainian people. “This war looks like a war of attrition,” Gen. Muzhenko says. “It’s Russia’s intent to demoralize our forces, and using that mechanism they want to influence Ukraine’s military leadership as well as the state leadership.”


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