Ukraine Uses Military Force for First Time

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Ukraine Sends Armored Units Into Restive East; U.S. Praises ‘Measured Response’

Ukraine’s military fired its first shots Tuesday in the fight to regain control of the restive east from pro-Russian separatists, as soldiers repelled an armed mob from a military air base.

Soldiers riding aboard armored personnel carriers took up positions around the region, setting up checkpoints along key roads, as transport helicopters ferried in dozens of paratroopers and elite security-service officers.

Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said the “antiterrorist” operation began in the early-morning hours in the northern part of the Donetsk region, where most of the cities commandeered by pro-Russian forces are located. He described it as “phased, responsible and balanced.”

“The purpose of the actions, I stress once again, is to protect the citizens of Ukraine,” he told parliament.

The Obama administration voiced support for what it called Ukraine’s measured response, saying the situation had become untenable. “The Ukrainian government has a responsibility to provide law and order,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

As of Tuesday night, the Ukrainian troops had yet to move into any of the cities or tried to engage the armed separatists, who have erected barricades outside the occupied buildings that are often guarded by crowds of civilians.

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