PLEDGE NOW
US Weighs Ukrainian Military Aid

Arming Ukraine.  Should the US do it?  Russia is backing a new offensive and economic sanctions aren’t stopping it. We’ll hear the debate.

Volunteers of battalion "St. Maria" line up during a ceremony before to start military training in Internal Ministry unit at Sophia Square near the St. Sophia Cathedral in the Ukrainian capital in Kiev, Ukraine,Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (AP)

Volunteers of battalion “St. Maria” line up during a ceremony before to start military training in Internal Ministry unit at Sophia Square near the St. Sophia Cathedral in the Ukrainian capital in Kiev, Ukraine,Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (AP)

The thunder of artillery rolling across eastern Ukraine lately is hardly the sound of ragtag separatists.  Russia – Moscow – is heavily engaged with the fighting – the war – in Ukraine.  Now, significant American voices are being raised saying it is time for the United States to arm up Ukrainian forces to resist the Russian-backed onslaught.  That’s a big step.  Lethal aid.  Essentially against Vladimir Putin.  Economic sanctions haven’t deterred Moscow, they say.  But would it risk putting the US and Russia at war?  This hour On Point:  Lethal aid to Ukraine.  And the latest on the burning pilot out of Jordan.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Corey Flintoff, international correspondent for NPR News. (@coreyflintoff

Eugene Rumer, director, Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International peace. Co-author of the new book “Conflict in Ukraine: The Unwinding of the Post-Cold War Order.” (@eugene_rumer)

Steven Pifer, director of the Brookings Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative. Former US ambassador to Ukraine and former deputy assistant secretary of state in the bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. (@steven_pifer)

Anders Aslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Former economic adviser to the Russian and Ukrainian governments. Former Swedish diplomat. Author of “How Capitalism Was Built,” “The Russia Balance Sheet” and many others. (@anders_aslund)

From Tom’s Reading List

Brookings Institution: Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What the United States and NATO Must Do — “Assisting Ukraine to deter attack and defend itself is not inconsistent with the search for a peaceful, political solution—it is essential to achieving it. Only if the Kremlin knows that the risks and costs of further military action are high will it seek to find an acceptable political solution. Russia’s actions in and against Ukraine pose the gravest threat to European security in more than 30 years. The West has the capacity to stop Russia. The question is whether it has the will.”

New York Times: Ukraine Rebels Upbeat After an Infusion of Aid — “The mood here on the rebel front lines is upbeat these days. Two weeks ago, Russian-backed rebels captured the airport in Donetsk, kicking off the fiercest round of combat in the region since last fall. Their commanders declared a four-month-old cease-fire defunct and vowed new attacks, which began almost immediately, including one in which a barrage of rockets struck a crowded market in a Black Sea coastal town, Mariupol, that left 31 dead.”

PRI’s The World: Oh, Donetsk airport, I knew you when — “Some people say it’s not the airport we should cry over. My friend Anna says she doesn’t feel sorry about Donetsk airport, not a bit. She said she doesn’t care what has happened or is going to happen to that pile of glass and concrete. She doesn’t shed tears when she sees the pictures of it online. What she cares about are the Ukrainian soldiers who are still there, alive, wounded, or dead.”

Jordan Executes Prisoners In Retaliation As ISIS Conflict Simmers

Taylor LuckWashington Post foreign correspondent, based in Amman, Jordan. (@taylor_luck)

Washington Post: Slain pilot’s father expects U.S., Jordan to ‘take revenge’ on Islamic State militants — “In a swift and severe response, Jordan authorities executed at dawn Wednesday two Iraqi terror convicts just hours after Islamic State militants released a video showing a Jordanian pilot burned to death in a cage. The hangings underscored the hardening stance by officials in Jordan, a key U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic States, after street protests calling for revenge against the militant group.”

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