The Ukrainian government began today what it’s calling a “military operation” to confront pro-Russian insurgents in the eastern part of the country, even as the Russian militants fortify their positions, putting up barricades and seizing buildings.
Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov says the goal of his new offensive is to “root out separatists.”
The focus of the latest tensions between Russia and the Ukraine is the city of Slovyansk, about 100 miles from the Russian border, where pro-Russian insurgents are demanding broader autonomy and closer ties with Russia.
Western governments are accusing Moscow of fueling unrest and worry that escalation could become a pretext for Russian invasion.
NPR’s Ari Shapiro joins Here & Now’s Robin Young from Ukraine with the latest.