TIME Ukraine

Fighting Intensifies in Eastern Ukraine as Rebels Down Choppers

Ukrainian soldiers near a checkpoint not far from Slavyansk, May 2, 2014.
Ukrainian soldiers near a checkpoint not far from Slavyansk, May 2, 2014. Roman Pilipey—EPA

Tension in eastern Ukraine spiked after the Ukrainian military launched an offensive to regain territory held by pro-Russian insurgents, and at least three Ukrainian helicopters had been downed by pro-Kremlin militia fighters, according to Russian state media

Updated 11:05 a.m. ET

The tense situation in eastern Ukraine appeared in danger of spiraling out of control Friday, as the government launched its first big assault on pro-Russian insurgents occupying cities, the insurgents shot down government helicopters, and Russia said the renewed violence that killed at least three people had ended any hope of a peaceful end to the standoff.

The insurgent-appointed mayor of the east Ukrainian city of Slovyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, claimed that pro-Russian forces occupying the city shot down helicopters on Friday morning as the Ukrainian military kicked off an operation near the rebel enclave. The president of Ukraine later claimed that “many” pro-Russia insurgents had been killed or injured in the fighting, the Associated Press reports.

There were conflicting reports about how many helicopters were shot down—Russian state news outlet RT reported that at least three helicopters had been downed by pro-Kremlin militia fighters, but that couldn’t be immediately confirmed and other reports said two choppers were downed. At least one helicopter pilot was killed during the fighting, while another had been detained, the AP reports.

That came after the Ukrainian military launched an unspecified operation near the rebel-held city on Friday morning, with news of sporadic gunfire and explosions erupting on the city outskirts. The new pro-Western government in Kiev has been grappling with Russian encroachment for month, starting with a crisis in Crimea that led Russia to eventually annex the peninsula, and more recently with insurgents who have been occupying buildings in several Russian cities.

Russia signaled that the latest violence would doom any hope of a sustaining a peace deal that was reached last month in Geneva, one the United States and Ukraine have accused Russia of never respecting in the first place. Dmitri S. Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, called the latest Ukrainian military moves a “punitive operation” that had killed “all hope for the viability of the Geneva agreements,” the New York Times reports.

During a telephone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, Putin called for the withdrawal of “all military units” in southeastern Ukraine.

Insurgents have taken over state buildings in at least a dozen cities in Ukraine’s southeast since Russia annexed Crimea in late March.

[AP]

MORE: Decisions on Separation From Ukraine

TIME

Putin Demands Ukraine Pull Military Out of Southeast

East Ukraine Crisis
Pro-Russian separatists seize the Prosecution Office in Donetsk, Ukraine, on May 1, 2014. Burak Akbulut—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Vladmir Putin wants Ukraine to remove its military from its southeastern region, where pro-Russian militants are fighting with Ukrainian troops

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine to remove its military from the southeastern region of Ukraine where pro-Russian militants are fighting with Ukrainian troops. Putin expressed his demands to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, the Kremlin said.

“Putin emphasized that it was imperative today to withdraw all military units from the southeastern regions, stop the violence and immediately launch a broad national dialogue as part of the constitutional reform process involving all regions and political forces,” the Russian government said in a statement.

Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said on Wednesday that the country’s security service no longer has control over the region where armed separatists have taken government buildings. Rebels in Donetsk have declared a “People’s Republic of Donetsk” and called a referendum on secession for May 11, just before the planned election for President two weeks after. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian National Information Agency said that pro-Russian militants captured a police station and the state prosecutor’s office in Donetsk on Thursday, according to the New York Times.

Turchynov announced he would be reinstating military conscription on Thursday for men between 18 and 24 in an effort to restore public order.

Russia denies working with the separatists and says it has no troops in eastern Ukraine. However, Putin also said there was no Russian presence during the annexation of Crimea, then later admitted there was.

Meanwhile, Russia held its first large May Day parade in Moscow’s Red Square since the Soviet era. Workers cheered President Putin and many carried signs referencing Ukraine. “I am proud of my country,” one banner said, according to Reuters. “Putin is right,” another read.

[NYT]

TIME Military

Ending Afghanistan’s Drug Addiction Is Looking Like ‘Mission Implausible’

AFGHANISTAN-POPPY
Afghan farmers tend to their poppy fields outside Jalalabad last month. Noorullah Shirzada—AFP/Getty Images

The Pentagon watchdog overseeing American efforts in Afghanistan says that the country’s booming opium industry is enjoying unprecedented growth that will fuel Taliban insurgents and challenge the government in Kabul

As U.S. troops continue to pull out of Afghanistan, the country’s booming poppy crops and the opium they yield have reached unprecedented levels that will fuel Taliban insurgents and challenge the government in Kabul, the Pentagon watchdog overseeing Afghanistan says.

“We don’t really have an effective strategy” to counter Afghanistan’s expanding narcotics industry, John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said in an interview Thursday. “Cultivation is up, drug usage is up, production is up, seizures are down, eradication is down, corruption is up—if you look at all those indices, it’s a failure.” And the U.S. is running out of time to change course.

SIGAR

The U.S. has spent $7.5 billion trying to eradicate Afghanistan’s poppy crop since invading the country on Oct. 7, 2001, shortly after Osama bin Laden oversaw the 9/11 attacks from his sanctuary inside the country. But since 2008, the U.S. and its allies have succeeded in eliminating less than 4% of it, according to satellite imagery. Seizures of opium are even less, accounting for about 1% of production.

The bottom line is bleak: if the U.S., with all of its military might and money, couldn’t tame Afghanistan’s drug problem in 13 years, what chance does a weak central Afghan government have after most of those American troops leave? The Afghan drug trade is like a colony of termites eating away at the framing of an Afghan society the U.S. hoped to build.

“If our policy was to assure we had a stable government in Afghanistan, so it would not be open to be a terrorist sanctuary to attack us—and that’s our stated goal for why we’ve lost 2,300 GIs and spent billions and billions of dollars—we’ve got a grave problem,” Sopko says.

Afghanistan is the source of about 90% of the world’s opium. Its farmers dedicated more than 500,000 acres to the opium poppy’s cultivation in 2013, up 36% from 2012. Much of that crop is sold to the Taliban, who pocket an estimated $100 million annually to fund anti-government forces. “The drug trade undermines the Afghan government because it funds the insurgency, fuels corruption, and distorts the economy,” the IG said in his latest quarterly report. “Moreover, the number of domestic addicts is growing.”

The report is crammed with grim statistics: an estimated 7.5% of Afghan adults use illegal drugs. And while Kabul has established 50 drug-treatment centers across the country, their patients represent only 1% of the nation’s addicts. In some sections of the country, half the parents provide opium to their children, the UN has reported.

Whatever gains the U.S. and its allies may have achieved in Afghanistan are in jeopardy so long as drug money flows freely, distorts Afghanistan’s economy and encourages corruption. (Last year, 50 of the 700 Afghans arrested by special anti-drug units and convicted in Afghan courts were government employees). Sopko, whose assignment is limited to scrubbing the existing efforts—not proposing new ones—concedes the challenge. “It’s extremely difficult, and the people are trying their darndest, and many have died,” he adds. “But the bottom line is, it hasn’t worked.”

Sopko is a veteran government investigator whose blunt assessments often anger those he’s investigating, at least in public. “Off the record, [the U.S. officials responsible for the counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan] say ‘it’s a disaster,’” he says. “On the record, they say `this is a long-term project that’s going to take many years.’”

The inspector general isn’t telling the Pentagon anything it doesn’t know. “Narcotics continued to play an integral role in financing the insurgency, creating instability and enabling corruption,” the Defense Department said in a report to Congress last month assessing recent progress.

The root of the problem is economics, not narcotics. The subsistence farmers growing poppies will grow whatever puts the most food on their tables. “They are not inherently criminals, they are not even politically motivated in what they are trying to do,” William Brownfield, who heads the State Department’s counter-narcotics efforts, told a congressional panel in February. “They conclude that they can make $500 a year if they grow wheat, but they can make $2,000 a year if they grow opium poppy, so they grow opium poppies.”

From 2011 to 2013, as the U.S. troop presence dropped from nearly 100,000 to less than 70,000, the number of drug raids fell 17%. The seizures of opium dropped by 57%, and heroin dropped by 77%. There are now about 33,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and most, if not all, of them are set to pull out by the end of the year.

SIGAR

The provinces’ quest to achieve annual “poppy-free status” has focused Afghan efforts on provinces close to that goal, which makes them eligible for $1 million to build schools, hospitals, roads and other public works. Fifteen of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces were declared poppy-free last year, two fewer than in 2012. The Afghans are concentrating their anti-narcotics efforts on low-hanging fruit. “The majority of Afghan seizures are a result of routine police operations near population centers or transportation corridors, such as at checkpoints or border crossings,” the report says. That focus has “contributed to the concentration of poppy cultivation in limited, remote, and largely insecure areas of the country.”

While 2013 saw peak poppy production in Afghanistan, this year could yield an even bigger crop. That’s because Afghan forces dedicated to anti-narcotic tasks had to be diverted to help secure the recent election, which coincided with the poppy-growing and eradication season. It’s a perverse twist: efforts to nurture democracy helped the poppies flourish, which eventually could doom whatever kind of democracy the U.S. bequeathes Afghanistan at year’s end.

TIME Foreign Policy

Lawmakers Push Changes for Voice of America

A major overhaul of the government-funded news agency has critics worried it may turn Voice of America into a propaganda mouthpiece

Updated at 8:08 p.m.

Legislation to restructure the organization overseeing the government-funded media outlet Voice of America advanced in the House this week, a measure that proponents say would bring it closer in line with U.S. policy but critics fear could turn the storied news service into a a propaganda tool.

The U.S. International Communications Reform Act, which passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, would, among other things, make “clear that the Voice of America mission is to support U.S. public diplomacy efforts,” according to a summary of the bill. The bill’s authors say that over time, VOA has abandoned the mission outlined in its charter to provide a “clear and effective presentation of the policies of the United States.

“We pay for the VOA to provide news that supports our national security objectives,” Shane Wolfe, a spokesman for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by bill co-sponsor Rep. Ed Royce (R—CA), told TIME. Supporters hope the measure will strengthen VOA by streamlining operations and clarifying the VOA mission.

“Unlike decades past, today’s media landscape is highly competitive,” Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), who chairs the committee and co-sponsored the bill, said Wednesday. “Other countries are sprinting forward, but we are standing still. If we’re going to adapt, we need a more effective and efficient use of our finite resources, which this legislation lays out through its mission clarification and management reform.”

Voice of America was created during World War II as an answer to Nazi propaganda, but it shifted to a more diplomatic role under the State Department umbrella during the Cold War. Under its 1976 charter, VOA is supposed to “serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news” that is “accurate, objective, and comprehensive.” VOA estimates it reaches about 164 million people around the world weekly, many of them living in societies that lack reliable, independent sources of news.

The bill would replace the Broadcasting Board of Governors that currently oversees VOA with a new office to be called the U.S. International Communications Agency led by a new chief executive. Three related broadcast outlets—Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Network—will be merged into one “Freedom News Network,” and continue in their mission “to provide uncensored local news and information to people in closed societies,” according to the bill summary. It’s unclear how the bill would fare before the full House or the Democratic-controlled Senate.

“I had my criticism on VOA’s non-100% editorial independence before, but I think this will make it even worse,” said Negar Mortazavi, a Washington-based Iranian freelance journalist. Mortazavi worked for three years as a TV host at VOA Persian, which broadcasts into Iran. “There’s nothing wrong with the government having it’s own foreign language PR,” she said, but ”you can’t mix media and government PR, or propaganda, or whatever you call it.”

It can be difficult for the average American to appreciate the role outlets like VOA and BBC play as an alternative news source in societies like Iran, where media is often tightly controlled. But the VOA can be a welcome irritant to a restrictive government for some. Tehran has denounced both VOA and BBC as arms of foreign intelligence agencies and the regime is routinely accused of trying to jam the satellite signals that beam the services into the country, an accusation Tehran denies. Mortazavi, who was born in Tehran and came to the U.S. for college at age 20 in 2002, hasn’t been back to Iran since 2009, she says, due to work for VOA.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), a co-sponsor of the legislation and the ranking Democrat of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, doesn’t think VOA’s value would be undermined by the bill. “The legislation clearly requires U.S.-funded programming to serve as an objective source of news and information, and not as a mouthpiece for American foreign policy,” Engel told TIME. “That said, providing access to unbiased, credible news and advancing American foreign policy interests aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, when we promote a free press and freedom of information around the world, we’re promoting some of our most cherished values.”

Shane Wolfe dismissed the idea that supporting U.S. “public diplomacy efforts” is tantamount to propaganda. “The U.S. spends a lot of money every year to help people in foreign countries; we do a lot of good in the world. Unfortunately, those stories don’t make it to BBC, Al Jazeera, RT (Russia Today), or CCTV (China),” he said. “Most of those outlets tell stories that often deride the United States. If VOA is not in the business of telling those good stories, and otherwise reporting on U.S. policy, who is?”

This article was updated with a statement from Shane Wolfe

TIME Foreign Policy

Tit-for-Tat: Putin’s Maddening Propaganda Trick

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with participants of youth polaris expedition to the Nord Pole on April 22, 2014 in Moscow, Russia Sasha Mordovets—Getty Images

How the Russian leader is driving U.S. officials crazy with his "I know you are but what am I?" technique. How do you negotiate with someone who denies the truth?

By now Vladimir Putin’s flair for propaganda is well known. But as the Ukraine crisis continues to unfold, the former KGB agent’s particular brand of disinformation is coming into clear focus. The method is simple. Whenever he’s accused of something, Putin retorts: That’s what you’re doing, not me.

Start with the original protests in Kiev, against the government of then-President Viktor Yanukovych. While the protesters were a largely middle-class, educated group resisting authoritarian rule, the Kremlin cast them as the real tyrants—”fascists” staging an illegal coup. Even after Yanukovych’s goons and snipers murdered dozens of protesters, pro-Kremlin news outlets like RT depicted the Maidan activists as a group of brutal thugs.

After Putin annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March, Washington said he was violating international law. The Russian leader quickly flipped the accusation, accusing America of breaking international law during military actions in the Balkans, Libya, Iraq and elsewhere. “Our Western partners led by the United States prefer to proceed not from international law, but the law of might in their practical policies,” he snickered.

When pro-Russian militants seized government buildings in eastern Ukraine last month, Washington accused Putin using covert agents to foment the rebellion. Putin not only denies the charge, he says that’s what Washington did by allegedly engineering the original protests in Kiev. Taking the charge a step further, Yanukovych, now living across the border in Russia, charges that when CIA director John Brennan visited Kiev in April, he conveyed orders for Ukraine’s military to attack Russians in the east.

Think you have a deal with Putin? Think again. Two weeks ago, Secretary of State John Kerry brokered an agreement with Moscow, Kiev and the European Union to make pro-Russian militants leave occupied buildings in eastern Ukraine in exchange for amnesty, among other provisions. Or so he thought. Within hours, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov added a surprise twist, insisting that the deal also required the protesters still camped out in Kiev’s central square to decamp. But that was never part of the agreement, according to the State Department. The deal quickly fell apart.

That leads us to the present moment. The U.S. has called for Putin to withdraw the 40,000 Russian troops now threatening Ukraine along its eastern border. Naturally, Putin is calling the Ukrainians as the warmongers. “They have gone completely mad: bringing in tanks, armoured vehicles… and cannons,” he said in a public appearance last month. “What do they intend to do with cannons? Have they completely gone mad?”

On Thursday, Putin achieved perfect info-warfare symmetry on this point. Amid continued calls for Russia’s army to stand down, the Kremlin released a statement saying that Ukraine is the side that should demobilize forces—from its own territory. Putin “emphasized that it was imperative today to withdraw all military units from the southeastern regions [of Ukraine],” the Kremlin said in a statement.

Putin’s Orwellian style seems to be driving U.S. officials to frustration. Last week, Kerry fumed over the Russian president’s “fantasy” version of reality. Outlets like RT are “devoted to this effort to propagandize and to distort” the truth, he said, adding: “No amount of propaganda will hide the truth,” Kerry declared.

At his Friday press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel, President Obama groused about Putin’s disinformation. “There has just not been … honesty and credibility about the situation there,” Obama said.

Putin is no doubt unimpressed. Speaking a couple of weeks earlier, he had dismissed complaints among dissidents at home about his control of information.

“Some people believe that whatever they say is the ultimate truth, and there’s no way that things can be any different,” Putin said. “So when they get something in response, it causes a strong emotional reaction.” As always with Putin, the fault lies with someone else.

TIME Nigeria

Nigeria Blast Kills at Least 19 in Abuja

An apparent car bomb blew up Thursday near the site of an April 14 bombing that killed at least 75 people and wounded 141. Rescuers are at the scene, and at least 19 people were killed in the explosion, according to a hospital worker

Updated 4:50 p.m. ET on May 2

An explosion killed at least 19 people in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja on Thursday, a hospital worker told the Associated Press.

The apparent car bomb blew up near the site of an April 14 bombing that killed at least 75 people and wounded 141, according to officials. The Boko Haram Islamic extremist network claimed responsibility for that bombing, and just hours later, militants kidnapped over 250 teenage girls at a school in the northeast. Fifty of the students escaped from their captors, but 200 of the girls are still missing. (Boko Haram means “Western education is sinful.”)

A checkpoint was set up at the location after the April 14 blast. According to witnesses, traffic had built up before the checkpoint before the bomb exploded on Thursday. Earlier in the day at a May Day rally, President Goodluck Jonathan said the perpetrators of the bombing and kidnapping would be brought to justice.

Civil Defense Corps spokesman Eman Ekah said rescuers are at the scene.

[AP]

 

MORE: Another Deadly Blast in Nigeria As Country’s Stability Erodes

TIME

Saudi Arabia Reports 26 More Cases of MERS as Egypt Reports First Infection

Cases of MERS in Saudi Arabia have nearly doubled in April

Saudi Arabia said Thursday 26 more people have been infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) this week, while Egypt has reported its first case of the virus.

The Egyptian case is a 27-year-old man who had been living in Saudi Arabia, Reuters reports. He returned to Egypt after being in contact with an uncle who recently died of MERS.

There have been 371 confirmed cases of MERS in Saudi Arabia, with an 89% jump last month. Most of the recent cases have come from outbreaks in three hospitals in Jeddah.

So far, 107 people have died from the disease, which is in the same virus family as SARS. It has no vaccine or treatment, and researchers believe the disease may have come from camels.

There’s concern over transmission of the disease in July, when millions of foreigners are expected to descend on Saudi Arabia for Ramadan. Millions of Muslims will also gather in the city of Mecca this October for the Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage.

[Reuters]

 

TIME Saudi Arabia

Saudis Show Off a Missile As Tensions Rise With Iran

Saudi worries about a nuclear Iran may be behind display of a missile that could reach Tehran

Saudi Arabia bought its mid-range Dong Feng-3 ballistic missiles from China in the late 1980s, but had not put them on public display until they were wheeled past a reviewing stand at the Hafr al-Batin military base this week, at the parade concluding the largest military exercise the kingdom has ever mounted.

It was no secret that the Saudis had the missiles, but the public outing of the weapons on Tuesday was broadly interpreted by analysts as Saudi Arabia sending a message to its regional rival, Iran, at a time when the countries are battling at one remove in Syria, and the Saudis feel betrayed by Washington for attempting a rapprochement with Tehran by embracing negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program.

“They’ve been kept under wraps all these years, albeit they were known to be there; it’s just quite interesting for us to see them on show,” says Jeremy Binnie, editor of Jane’s Terrorism and Security Monitor, who was among the experts taking note of the Saudi showcase.

“I think there’s a few different ways you could potentially read it, but certainly one is as a sort of display of Saudi Arabia’s ability to retaliate in kind to Iranian ballistic missile attacks. And that was sort of the message coming out of this exercise in general, quite a lot of publicity by Saudi Arabia standards all round.”

The Saudis and Iranians are longtime rivals divided foremost by faith – the Saudis functioning as guardians of Islam’s dominant Sunni branch, while the Iranians lead the minority Shia denomination. But the competition has ramped up in recent years as Iran has drawn Iraq into its orbit (as the Saudis insistently warned Washington would happen if the secular Sunni dictator, Saddam Hussein, was brought down), and has sharpened as Iran has drawn nearer to the capability of producing a nuclear weapon.

Iran says it has never had plans to build a nuclear bomb. It is currently engaged in negotiations over its nuclear program with the United States and other world powers. Those talks are reportedly proceeding well of late. Which is small comfort to the Saudis. “They don’t have much faith in the Obama administration,” says Meir Javedanfar, a senior researcher at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya, a private Israeli university. “They are worried Washington is going to reach a deal with the Iranians and leave the Saudis behind.”

Hence Riyadh’s tough talk about going it alone. “We do not hold any hostility to Iran and do not wish any harm to it or to its people, who are Muslim neighbors,” Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence, told a security conference for Gulf states last week. “But preserving our regional security requires that we, as a Gulf grouping, work to create a real balance of forces with it, including in nuclear know-how, and to be ready for any possibility in relation to the Iranian nuclear file.”

Tehran routinely showcases its own arsenal in parades, as well as mounting war games several times a year. But at the Saudi base, the reviewing stand also conveyed a message: Among the dignitaries was the chief of Pakistan’s army, Gen. Raheel Sharif, whose presence, along with the missiles, could be read as a threat to top a Saudi missile with a Pakistani nuclear warhead. The Saudis reportedly aided Pakistan in its clandestine and successful nuclear effort, and have done little to quell reports that Islamabad might provide its loyal friend with a warhead should Iran actually produce an atomic bomb.

“You can read what you like into it,” says Binnie. “But having a high-ranked Pakistan guy there helps keep that idea alive that Saudi Arabia might be in a position to get nuclear warheads form Pakistan if Iran goes nuclear, which the Saudis want us to believe at the moment.”

Will the Iranians respond? Not on any parade ground, says Javedanfar,who lived in Iran in 1987.

“It is a flexing of the muscles, but the war being fought between Iran and Saudi Arabia is not one where you can use missiles,” he says. “It’s proxy war, where you can use your intelligence agents, you use terror, you use unconventional means. That’s why I don’t think this is going to impress the Iranians too much.”

What might impress Tehran, he says, is a bold move in Syria, the main proxy war between the two Middle East powers. Iran and its proxy, the Lebanese Shiite militia Hizballah, heavily support President Bashar Assad against rebels armed and supported by the Saudis and a handful of other majority-Sunni nations. “I don’t think either Iran or Saudi Arabia sees the other as a conventional threat,” says Javedanfar. “If we see a flooding of Pakistani weapons to the rebels in Syria, this is the kind of thing that will worry the Iranians, not a Saudi missile.”

TIME Ukraine

Ukraine Reinstates Conscription Amid Pro-Russian Insurgency

The reinstatement of military conscription comes in the face of an increasingly empowered pro-Russian separatist insurgency in the country’s eastern regions

The interim Ukrainian president reinstated military conscription Thursday in the face of an increasingly empowered pro-Russian separatist insurgency in the country’s eastern regions.

The measure follows a parliamentary vote on April 17 that recommended interim president Oleksandr Turchynov enact conscription “without delay,” AFP reports. The decision comes as thousands of Russian forces are amassed on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Ukraine conscripted young men into the military until earlier this year, when former President Viktor Yanukovych, a Russian ally, scrapped the law. Yanukovych fled to Russia in February amid mass anti-government protests.

The office of the interim president posted to its website a statement that says, as translated by AFP, that conscription was being reinstated “given the deteriorating situation in the east and the south … the rising force of armed pro-Russian unites and the taking of public administration buildings … which threaten territorial integrity.”

Ukraine’s military has about 130,000 members, though reserves could boost that figure to roughly 1,000,000, according to the AFP.

TIME Rob Ford

Rob Ford ‘Ready To Take A Break’ And Seek Help After New Video Emerges

Toronto Mayor will get help for substance abuse after another video of him smoking crack appears.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he’ll take a break from his reelection campaign and seek substance abuse help. The decision came just minutes before The Globe And Mail released images from a video of the embattled mayor allegedly smoking crack again.

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