With the (Western) media having calmed down on the Charlie Hebdo assault, the spotlight is again east Ukraine where the situation has deteriorated over the last few days and a peaceful solution of the conflict seems to be further away than ever.
The airport of Donetsk is currently one of the hotspots with great symbolic value. Both sides are claiming they hold, captured and/or recaptured the airport, but in fact it seems that both sides hold parts of the airport and none is currently able to overwhelm the other. Naturally the increased fighting comes with an increased number of casualties where Civilians – especially in Donetsk – pay the highest price when trying to live some sort of normal life in a war zone where one can get killed by an artillery shell at the bus stop. Winter conditions increase hardships for Civilians as fighting damages or interrupts all kinds of supply lines and infrastructure on which Civilian life depends.
At the same time diplomacy currently seems to be in a dead as peace talks or a real implementation of the Minsk protocol are both currently can not be expected. Instead mutual accusations from Russia and Ukraine rather indicate that the conflict might be on the brink to a new level of escalation. The mobilization of 50,000 Ukrainian reservists as a first batch of roughly 100,000 this year is also a sign of it though it can be interpreted as logical step to refresh the troops at the front and at least hold the area that is currently under control of the government against the separatists that are supported by Russia most likely also with soldiers and weapons.
For the sake of Civilian life one could hope that a deadly stalemate with bad chance of success for any side could bring the conflict parties and their supporters back to the negotiation table before nothing is left of Donbass and the OSCE mission has become a monitoring of the fightings.