New Atlanticist

Kyiv official says US, EU financial support ‘crucial’

Ukraine is “bleeding not just blood, but money” as it fights Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country, according to a top Ukrainian official.

Since Russia annexed Crimea in March of 2014, the Ukrainian government has been waging a war against separatists that risks draining the coffers of the country’s fragile economy.

Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Vadym Prystayko, said US and European Union financial support was “crucial” for his country. He spoke at a conference — “Toward a Transatlantic Strategy for Europe’s East” — hosted by the Atlantic Council and the Embassy of Latvia on January 30.

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Stephen J. Hadley advocates tougher line to convince Kremlin its strategy in Ukraine will fail

The United States and Europe need to take a more forceful stand against Russian President Vladimir Putin to convince him that his strategy of fomenting unrest in Ukraine is not going to succeed, Stephen J. Hadley, who served as National Security Advisor in the George W. Bush administration, said on January 30.

“The formula we have to do is, we have to be much more active and forceful than we have been in meeting the challenge that Russian policy poses and to convince President Putin that his strategy is going to fail and puts him and his position at risk, and we need to do that in Ukraine now,” Hadley said at the “Toward a Transatlantic Strategy for Europe’s East” conference hosted by the Atlantic Council and the Embassy of Latvia.

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Rinkēvičs cites urgent need for backing on territorial integrity, economy

Ukraine requires strong support for its territorial integrity and economy well before an Eastern Partnership summit in Riga in May, according to Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.

Describing Ukraine as the “biggest challenge,” Rinkēvičs said, “we need to address some issues now, in January, in February, not in May, not next year.”

This includes expressing strong support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity as well as securing a comprehensive aid package that is linked to reform, he added.

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Troops from Russia’s Pacific Far East Region Are Prominent in a War 4,200 Miles to the West

The Russian island of Sakhalin, in the Pacific Ocean just north of Japan, is fully a continent away from the war raging in southeastern Ukraine. But Konstantin Gorelov, a 22-year-old, active-duty Russian naval infantry commando, made the 4,200-mile trip as a “vacation” to join other members of his force in the intensive battle this month over the international airport in Donetsk.

Gorelov’s account, in an interview with a Sakhalin-based website,, confirms reports by Ukraine, NATO, and news media that active-duty Russian troops were key in the seizure of the airport from Ukrainian forces. In the Donbas war, “there are a lot of Russian military, they are not very visible, but they are working quietly and effectively,” Gorelov says. He gives few details about how he took leave from his marine unit in the Pacific to join the battle, saying simply that he was recruited by a fellow marine to go “help out the guys.” (See the full text of the interview below.)

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REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Atlantic Council analyst sees resurgence of militants as three US contractors are killed in Kabul

The death of three US contractors in a shooting incident at Kabul's airport on Thursday and attacks on a checkpoint and funeral in other parts of Afghanistan prove that the Taliban is “far from being a spent force,” according to Atlantic Council analyst Claude Rakisits.

“The worry now is that with the drawdown of US and NATO troops, all the heavy lifting will have to be done by the [Afghan National Security Forces] themselves,” Rakisits, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center, said in an interview.

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REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

Atlantic Council analysts see threat from Boko Haram, sore losers

The fact that the militant group Boko Haram controls vast swaths of territory in northeastern Nigeria will likely disenfranchise voters and has elevated the danger of post-election violence, according to Atlantic Council analysts.

“Because of insecurity in the northeast, one party may believe that its supporters may not have had the opportunity to support them, and in a close election that could call into question the electoral outcome,” said Robert Lloyd, nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

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White House official cites US-China deal, EU pledges, and India's embrace of renewable energy

A landmark US-China climate change deal
, EU pledges to cut emissions, and a new commitment from India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, to expand the use of renewable energy as a way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution are all encouraging signs of “momentum” toward a global climate agreement at a United Nations summit in Paris in December, according to a US climate policy official.

“We have a rough sense of the shape of the elephant, but we don’t know exactly what will come out of Paris yet,” said Rick Duke, Deputy Director for Climate Policy in the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change.

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Chaos in North African nation creates ‘natural environment’ for jihadist groups, Atlantic Council’s Mezran says

Fighters loyal to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are taking advantage of the chaos in Libya to expand their presence in the North African nation.

On Tuesday, an affiliate of ISIS in Libya claimed responsibility for an attack on a luxury hotel in the capital Tripoli in which five people were killed.

“In the vacuum that has been created in Libya since the beginning of last year we have a natural environment for jihadi organizations, whether they are affiliated to ISIS or not, to proliferate and prosper,” said Karim Mezran, a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

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Ukrainian Officer-Pilot Reaches 45 Days on Hunger Strike Against Her Abduction and Politicized Trial

Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian army officer and pilot who was captured in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and spirited to prison in Moscow, may die in captivity there on the hunger strike she has pursued for 45 days, her lawyer wrote yesterday. As attorney Mark Feygin urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter to release Savchenko, her supporters mounted a global campaign of rallies and Twitter messages, and the European parliament members voted a resolution in her defense.

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Backing Kyiv’s Independence Will Contain Russian Expansionism—And Damage From the Next Russian Revolution

Although “regime change” has become a dirty phrase, the best thing that could happen to Russia, its neighbors, and the world would be a change from Vladimir Putin’s brand of strongman authoritarianism to some form of democracy.

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