It’s not getting much attention, but Ukraine continues to make military progress against rebel separatists. The Washington Post reports that the Ukrainian military has pushed the rebels out of a series of villages and towns in the East, and now has its sights set on Horlivka, a city of about 300,000.
If it succeeds in taking Horlivka, the military will be on the doorstep of Donetsk, the separatists’ power center. Already, it is blocking supplies from entering Donetsk, according to the government.
No word yet on whether President Obama and John Kerry are demanding a cease fire.
The wild card, of course, is the 15,000 Russian troops believed to be stationed on the border. Russia’s attempts to prop up the separatists, many of whom are Russians, have been largely unsuccessful so far. If the separatists continue to lose ground, Russia will likely intervene more directly.
Already, Russia is poised to move heavy-calibre artillery systems across the border into Ukraine, and Russian forces are shelling Ukrainian military positions.
Ukraine seems undaunted, though. The U.S. should stand with the brave Ukrainians, whose current difficulties stem from their decision to align themselves with the EU rather than Moscow, by providing increased military assistance and preparing to escalate the sanctions against Russia.