Six Ukrainian troops were killed over the weekend near rebel-held Donetsk, in a shift from the relative calm in the region since a ceasefire took hold in September. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has warned that Ukrainian forces will return fire when troops’ lives are under threat and that Kiev will return artillery and mortars to the frontlines should an escalation take place. While on the surface these clashes point to an escalation between Ukraine and Russian-backed forces, evolving geopolitical dynamics both in Eastern Europe and the Middle East indicate that there is an emerging understanding between the U.S. and Russia. The latest outburst of violence in eastern Ukraine forms part of this negotiation.
The uptick in casualties due to clashes with Russian-supported rebels comes just as Ukraine formally received, on Nov. 14, two AN/TPQ-36 counter battery radar stations from the U.S. military. The clashes also took place on the weekend that foreign ministers from the world’s
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