Atlantic Council

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Residents Recount Their Struggle to Survive Daily Shells and Gunfire


Building by building, daily artillery explosions are blasting and burning Ukraine’s southeastern-most provincial capital, Luhansk, into a ruin whose remaining residents are those too poor or aged to escape. Roughly half of the city’s pre-war population of about 450,000 has fled—to other locales in Ukraine or to Russia, and those who remain describe a daily struggle to find food, water, and the receding cellphone signals that offer their only chance at communicating with the world outside.

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‘No Political Will’ for a ‘Large-Scale War’ Against Graft, Tetiana Chornovol Says


Ukraine’s most prominent anti-corruption campaigner, Tetiana Chornovol, has quit her post as head of the government’s National Anti-Corruption Committee, writing on the prominent Ukrainian news website, Ukrainska Pravda, that the government is unprepared for “an uncompromising, large-scale war against corruption.”

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Rebels Parade Prisoners to Declare That Ukraine Is Nazi-Inspired


Ukraine’s government marked the country’s twenty-third anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union yesterday with a military parade and a vow by President Petro Poroshenko to sustain Ukraine’s war against Russian-sponsored separatists in the southeast. In Donetsk, the separatists paraded bruised and dirty Ukrainian soldiers, their hands bound behind them. Bystanders threw eggs at the prisoners, accusing them and Ukraine’s government of being Nazi-inspired.

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Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has designated Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to be its new leader and the country's 26th prime minister when current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is inaugurated as president next week. Davutoğlu will become the third prime minister to hail from the ranks of the AKP since it first came to power in 2002.

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As NATO leaders prepare
for their annual summit conference in two weeks, they should be ready to re-affirm the importance to the Alliance of nuclear weapons, including US nuclear warheads deployed in Europe, several Atlantic Council analysts say in two new essays.

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The Islamist militant group ISIS executed US journalist James Foley as a political message aimed at changing US policy, with its recent air attacks on the group’s forces, says Atlantic Council resident fellow Faysal Itani. It also is meant to portray ISIS as a newly powerful player in the Middle East and thus to win new recruits, Itani said in an interview at the Council. Itani, a former risk analyst on the Middle East, now focuses on Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan at the Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. He spoke after President Barack Obama condemned the killing of Foley and announced that the US would sustain its current policies in Iraq and Syria.

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Deadliest Fighting in 20 Years is Encouraged by Crisis in Ukraine


The often-forgotten conflict between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh has flared this summer into the worst violence since a 1994 truce, killing at least eighteen soldiers in recent weeks. The surge in fighting not only shows that renewed, all-out warfare is a danger; it also lets Russia step in as mediator to secure its own role in the Caucasus. The government of President Vladimir Putin, driven by its nationalist, imperialist foreign policy, is unlikely to want truly to resolve the fight, which keeps the region from serving as a secure transit route for oil, gas or other Western interests.

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Despite Georgia's readiness to become a candidate for NATO, the Alliance announced in late June that Georgia will not be offered a Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Wales Summit this September. This is disappointing news for Georgia, which has undertaken years of political and military reforms and has long awaited to be welcomed into the Alliance. Although the United States was not able to persuade some of its fellow allies on MAP, US leadership must not only continue to press on the issue but also devote equally sustained attention to other elements of Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration. Russian recent aggression in Ukraine makes it all the more pressing for the United States to send a strong message that Georgia, and the region as a whole, is important by concluding a US-Georgia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

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With Kremlin's Proxy War Stumbling, Kyiv and West Guard Against 'Humanitarian Intervention'


As Russia’s government moves its proposed convoy of humanitarian aid toward the war zone in Ukraine that it has created with its support of separatist militias, Ukraine and Western governments are warning it not to try using Russian military forces on the border to push the purported relief supplies into Ukraine. Atlantic Council analysts say Putin’s dispatch of the convoy signals he may try some effort short of a conventional invasion.

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Ukrainians' Traditional Loyalty to Moscow Patriarch is Strained by His Close Tie to Kremlin 


The longstanding divide between Ukraine’s two main Orthodox churches will continue with little change following the election yesterday of a new leader, or metropolitan, by the Moscow-aligned faction. Metropolitan Onufriy is a religious conservative loyal to his church’s formal subordination to the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow and its primate, Patriarch Kirill.

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