While media has become less interested in the conflict in Ukraine in the general belief that the recent ceasefire is holding, the situation in eastern Ukraine actually remains critical.
Both sides claim to withdraw their heavy weapons according to the Minsk agreements, but the OSCE can’t – as only neutral observer – confirm those withdrawals with certainty due to limited resources on the one hand and to restrictions in movement imposed by the two opposing parties on the other hand. As a result some observers speculate that the separatists could be only relocating their artillery systems with the intention to attack on Mariupol in spring. Many local people still residing in the conflict area don’t seem to believe in a real ceasefire either.
Though fighting has significantly reduced, it still has not stopped. Casualties as the result of fighting are being reported on a daily basis – also by the OSCE SMM to Ukraine.
Also indications that Russian soldiers are involved in fighting in Ukraine are growing stronger as e. g. a documentary from Vice News shot in autumn 2014 suggests (see end of this article). There definitely are strong indications that Putin has sent regular Russian troops to east Ukraine as he did in Crimea which he admitted in an interview with a German TV channel. A Russian involvement is not a surprise and it actually is understandable as it is Russia’s sphere of interest and despite all allegedly true and good motives on both sides of the conflict it is all about geostrategic interests, as discussed e. g. in this article. It’s just politics, politics at the expense of normal people living in the conflict zone.
British political analyst Fiona Hill suggests in an interview with the German Spiegel magazine that the West does still not understand Putin. Hill’s statements reinforce the theory that the West also bears a responsibility for escalation of the conflict as also suggested on Novorossiya News last year. Blaming Russia and /or Putin for solely being responsible for the escalation in the Ukraine conflict can be considered as shortsighted. Hill’s words in the interview suggest that the confrontation between Russia and the West could have been avoided if the West would have understood Putin and his way of thinking. Now Putin’s alleged way of thinking and Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict could mean that the current “ceasefire” is just a break from war which might end soon.
Time will tell.
Vice News documentary on Russian troops fighting in Ukraine: