Ari Shapiro

Ari Shapiro is an NPR international correspondent based in London. An award-winning journalist, his reporting covers a wide range of topics and can be heard on all of NPR's national news programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Prior to his current post, Shapiro reported from the NPR Washington Desk as White House Correspondent during President Barack Obama's first and second terms, as Justice Correspondent during the George W. Bush administration and as a regular guest host on NPR's newsmagazines. He is also a frequent analyst on CNN, PBS, NBC and other television news outlets.

Shapiro's reporting has consistently won national accolades. The Columbia Journalism Review recognized him with a laurel for his investigation into disability benefits for injured American veterans. The American Bar Association awarded him the Silver Gavel for exposing the failures of Louisiana's detention system after Hurricane Katrina. He was the first recipient of the American Judges' Association American gavel Award, recognizing a body of work on U.S. courts and the American justice system. And at age 25, Shapiro won the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize for an investigation of methamphetamine use and HIV transmission.

An occasional singer, Shapiro makes guest appearances with the "little orchestra" Pink Martini, whose recent albums feature several of his contributions. Since his debut at the Hollywood Bowl in 2009, Shapiro has performed live at many of the world's most storied venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, L'Olympia in Paris, and Mount Lycabettus in Athens.

Shapiro graduated from Yale University magna cum laude and began his journalism career in the office of NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg.

Let's start with the basics: Stepan Bandera was born in 1909 in what is now western Ukraine. In 1959, the Soviet Union's KGB poisoned Bandera with cyanide and he died in Munich, West Germany.

Between those two dates, black and white quickly fades to gray.

In western Ukraine, many see him as a freedom fighter who battled domination by the Soviet Union and other European powers before and during World War II. They see themselves as the heirs to Bandera's struggle.

I recently took a Ukrainian taxi from the airport to my hotel. The fare should have been $20. The cab driver was adamant that I pay $30. When I finally paid him $30, the driver gave me a receipt with a wink. He'd made it out for $40.

The driver got a cut by overcharging me, and assumed that I would take a cut by overcharging NPR (which I did not).

In Ukraine, corruption is a daily fact of life. It reaches into big business, law enforcement, education and even the smallest transactions between people on the street.

In 2000, Jeff Shesol was nearing the end of his stint as a White House speechwriter for President Clinton. He went to the Democratic convention in Los Angeles, where he met a young staffer from Britain's Labour Party. They struck up a friendship.

"And so almost immediately after the Clinton administration had ended, I got a call to come over and begin writing speeches," Shesol says. "Before long, Labour was in the throes of its campaign, and I was stationed there along with them."

The first time I saw the word "lustration," I thought it was a case of bad translation from Ukrainian. In Kiev, a flyer advertised a talk by the head of parliament's "lustration" committee.

"What does this word mean in English?" I asked a press aide.

"I don't know the English word for it, but it will be an interesting speech," he replied.

And indeed, it was.

Weeks later, Sam Greene, director of the Russia Institute at King's College in London, explained to me that lustration actually is an English word.

Gerry Adams, a leader of Sinn Fein, was questioned in Northern Ireland in connection with an infamous murder 42 years ago. The investigation threatens to impact the fragile peace agreement there.

A development in Eastern Ukraine has set social media on fire and triggered outrage around the world.

In the city of Donetsk, someone distributed fliers ordering Jews to register with the separatists who have taken over government buildings.

Even though nobody in Ukraine believed the leaflet was real, the fliers hit a nerve.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The deal struck in Geneva today aims to end the violence Ukraine has seen over the last few months. There were snipers shooting at protesters in Kiev's Independence Square. In eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists forced their way through police barricades to overtake government buildings. But not every protest has been violent. Today, people who oppose the separatists staged a demonstration in the city of Donetsk, and NPR's Ari Shapiro was there.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. We begin this hour with the latest from eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian military is continuing an operation to oust pro-Russian militants from occupied government buildings, but today, it experienced a setback. Ukraine's defense department confirms that some of its armored personnel carriers began flying the Russian flag. NPR's Ari Shapiro went to investigate.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Tensions remain very high this morning in Eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia demonstrators stormed the city hall in the city of Donetsk. And there are now reports this morning of several Ukrainian armored personnel carriers on the move in some cities flying Russian flags. To try and sort out what's going on, we have NPR's Ari Shapiro on the line. He is in the Eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. Ari, good morning.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Hi, David.

Ukraine's army began a "special operation" in the east of the country Tuesday, moving against pro-Russian militants who are occupying government offices across the region.

At Passover celebrations around the world tonight, the youngest child will sing a song in Hebrew. "Why," the youngster will ask, "is this night different from all other nights?"

Adults in Ukraine can ask a similar question this year: What makes this Passover different from all others? It's a question Rabbi Alexander Duchovny has been thinking about a lot. "Passover is z'man cheruteinu, time of our liberty — time of freedom," he says. "And especially for Ukrainian Jewry, and for Ukrainians, this is a time of liberty."

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. In eastern Ukraine, people are bracing for possible war. The government gave a deadline of this morning for pro-Russian separatists to lay down their weapons. Instead, the demonstrators took over still more government buildings in eastern Ukrainian cities. Ukraine's president has promised to send in the army to retake this region near the Russian border.

NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from the city of Donetsk.

At occupied government buildings in eastern Ukraine, there is plenty of razor wire, sandbags and Molotov cocktails.

One thing is conspicuously absent, though — law enforcement.

When protests in Eastern Ukraine started on Sunday, police were everywhere.

Ukraine's interim prime minister visited Donetsk Friday in an effort to reduce tensions in the east of the country. Pro-Moscow militants among the area's largely Russian-speaking population have seized two government buildings in the region and are demanding referendums on the area's future. NPR's Ari Shapiro has been behind the barricades at one of the occupations.

In Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk, activists who want to align the country more with Russia seized a regional administration building in the center of town last weekend. NPR correspondent Ari Shapiro went inside the building Friday and reports on what it was like:

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