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NYT: Trump seems to side with Russia in comments on Ukraine. US steps up efforts to counter Russian propaganda.  US Congressman Thornberry hopes Trump Administration to provide lethal aid to Ukraine.  Vigil for fallen in Avdiivka held in Toronto.  Ukraine’s MP Korchynska says Russian T-90 tank shelled hospital in Avdiivka, OSCE refuses recording attack.  Merkel and Putin agreed on "Norman meeting".

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The Daily Vertical By Brian Whitmore (VIDEO report): Playing Putin's Border Game
Ukraine’s MP Korchynska says Russian T-90 tank shelled hospital in Avdiivka, OSCE refuses recording attack. VIDEO

The Russian T-90 main battle tank shelled medical service unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine deployed in Avdiivka.

Censor.NET reports citing a speech delivered by MP Oksana Korchynska in the session hall of the Ukrainian parliament.

"The Russian troops used a Russian T-90 tank to shell our hospital in Avdiivka with the Russian projectiles. Three shells fell near our hospital, near the ground where all our doctors, both military and civilian were providing medical assistance to our wounded soldiers and local residents," she said.

The lawmaker demonstrated shrapnel as evidence of the shelling,adding that the OSCE observers were reluctant to record these particular attacks., In Ukrainian / на українській мові
Vigil for fallen in Avdiivka held in Toronto. PHOTO+VIDEO

The vigil in memory of the soldiers and civilians killed in Avdiivka was held in Toronto (Canada) in light of the recent escalation of the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Censor.NET reports citing the statement of UCAS (Ukrainian Canadian Activist Society) NGO Vice-President Antonina Kumka on Facebook.

"Special thanks to Consul General of Ukraine in Toronto Andrey Veselovsky, reverend father Taras Lozynskyi, and President of Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Toronto Branch Taras Bahrii for their participation and speeches delivered," she wrote.

The fighting in the vicinity of Avdiivka has been underway since late Saturday, Jan. 28.

After three days, Ukrainian soldiers managed to take enemy positions and improved their tactical set-up in the area. Unfortunately, casualties were reported among the military.

On Jan. 30, enemy strikes left the government-controlled town of Avdiivka without electricity, water and heat.

In the evening of Jan. 30, a state of emergency was declared in Avdiivka.

As reported by the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) Staff press center, the militants continue to storm Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka.

A regional coordination center to aid local population has been set up.

According to the National Police, six civilians had been wounded and 26 houses damaged as of morning, Feb. 1. A female body of a civilian was found in Avdiivka downtown on Feb. 1., In Ukrainian / на українській мові
US Congressman Thornberry hopes Trump Administration to provide lethal aid to Ukraine

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry is very hopeful that the U.S. President Donald Trump’s Administration will sanction providing Ukraine with lethal defensive assistance.

The congressman told reporters on Monday, Feb. 6, Censor.NET reports citing Ukrinform.

Thornberry said he was incredibly disappointed when the Obama Administration showed reluctance to fulfill Ukraine's request to provide lethal weapons to counter the Russian aggression.

He expressed hope that the new administration would do it.

The congressman also noted that the idea of arming Ukraine enjoyed a bipartisan support of lawmakers of both houses of the U.S. Congress.

Thornberry's statement came amid escalation of hostilities in Ukraine's east which made the new White House Administration to officially respond to the situation. , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
US steps up efforts to counter Russian propaganda

The United States government is spending tens of millions of dollars to counter propaganda from Vladimir Putin and other state actors, a move slipped into the thousands of pages of the annual defense policy bill passed by Congress.

As reported by Censor.NET citing The Daily Beast, a bipartisan initiative led by Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy has authorized $160 million over two years to fight propaganda state actors through a little-known interagency office housed at the State Department called the Global Engagement Center (GEC).

The bipartisan Russian sanctions legislation, proposed last month by Sens. Ben Cardin and John McCain, would expand it even further, dedicating an additional $100 million for the GEC and others to support objective Russian-language journalism, counter "fake news," and support research on the effects of information warfare.

The Global Engagement Center was initially created under the Obama administration to fight ISIS propaganda, but the Portman-Murphy measure expanded its scope to target propaganda from state actors, with Russia in mind as a primary antagonist. The measure also upped their funding 16-fold. The GEC originally had just $5 million a year for operations, according to Murphy's office.

"By directly countering false narratives and empowering local media and civil societies to defend themselves from foreign manipulation, this legislation will help support our allies and interests in this increasingly unstable world," Sen. Portman told The Daily Beast.

The grants would go to independent organizations, for example, websites like Bellingcat and that provide access to truthful information and counter false Russian narratives in Ukraine-would be eligible for these resources. , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
NYT: Trump seems to side with Russia in comments on Ukraine

President Trump cast doubt on whether Moscow is backing separatists engaged in the recent escalation of fighting in eastern Ukraine, appearing to side with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who has long denied involvement in the conflict despite evidence to the contrary, according to The New York Times (NYT).

Mr. Trump said he did not take offense at the outbreak of a lethal bout of fighting in Ukraine that came within a day of a phone conversation he had with Mr. Putin, saying of the recent clashes, "we don't really know exactly what that is," as reported by NYT. "They're pro-forces," Mr. Trump said of the Ukrainian separatists in an interview that aired on Monday on "The O'Reilly Factor," on Fox News. "We don't know, are they uncontrollable? Are they uncontrolled? That happens also. We're going to find out; I would be surprised, but we'll see."

Mr. Trump's comments were the latest indication that his desire for warmer relations with Russia may be coloring his view of the conflict in Ukraine, which pits the country's military — trained and equipped in part by the United States Army — against Russian-backed separatists. Moscow has denied involvement in the three-year conflict, despite evidence that it has provided equipment and fighters to support separatist forces in eastern Ukraine..............
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