11:17 Aug. 17, 2016
Leaders should insist that Russian separatists in the east not obstruct cease-fire monitoring missions
For the third year in a row, August is proving a particularly deadly month in eastern Ukraine. Russian fighters, funds, weapons and equipment have kept the conflict burning—a conflict that has devastated buildings, roads and public works, led to massive population displacement and widespread human-rights abuses, and claimed the lives of nearly 10,000 people, with tens of thousands more injured.
New Russian military equipment has been spotted in recent weeks, and Ukrainian soldiers have now become accustomed to being on the receiving end of coordinated Russian and separatist artillery strikes, often fired from residential areas, with the targeting assistance of Russian unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. International observers confirm that the majority of the fighting in eastern Ukraine is being initiated by the Russian-separatist side.
Washington has not and will not abandon diplomatic efforts to jump-start a cease-fire and the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements—several agreements Russia and Ukraine signed, with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as witness, in 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately, these efforts have so far not borne fruit.