Agitations in Ukraine's east accelerated last Tuesday with an attack upon a passenger bus that killed 13 civilians, then subsequent battles between pro-Russian Separatists and Ukraine forces, claimed more lives while a cease-fire agreement was in place.
That 4,800 have died since last April in Ukraine in separatists battles and that 200 Ukrainian soldiers alone have died since September when a cease-fire agreement was inked, is indicative of the character of forged peace between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukraine forces of Kiev.
Observers on the ground in Ukraine have pointed to a military build-up by pro-Russian forces as mid-winter approaches. The 12-point-peace deal agreed upon between the parties at Minsk, Belarus, last September, has been shattered. And additional peace talks, scheduled last Friday to rescue the remnants of the original cease-fire, did not materialize. Heavy weaponry and lines of demarcation are elements of the agitations.
Battles between pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine's army have concentrated over the dilapidated, armament-riddled and bomb-shambled Donetsk Airport, where over the course of a couple of days, both government and separatists have claimed control on multiple occasions.
The United States(US) Embassy in Kiev has confirmed that the demarcation line agreed upon by warring parties at the Minsk agreement has been routinely flouted by pro-Russian rebels. "The Separatists have pushed their lines well beyond the territorial lines agreed upon," US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt was quoted by the Associated Press(AP) as confirming. Also, separatist forces having been amassing with armored vehicles along sections of a 220-mile front east of Donetsk in recent days. Ukraine military spokesman Andriy Lysenko confirmed: "In Horlivka, there is a three-kilometer-long column of tanks heading in the direction of Ukrainian positions."
Indications point to a new wave of Russian meddling in Ukraine and the Kiev government has complained that Vladimir Putin has failed to withdraw Russian fighters and equipment from Ukraine's east, Reuters reported.
The Ukraine parliament voted last Thursday to rotate its front-line troops and to resume partial conscription in response to evidence of increase Russian actions in east Ukraine.
But as the heart of winter approaches, it provides what Putin has reckoned to be an opportune time and perhaps the last open window to derail Ukraine's demonstrated destiny to be closer to the European Union(EU) and NATO and out of Russia's grip. Should Ukraine be able to maintain or to retake all its territory by the end of March, Ukraine's aspiration to be free, could be finally realized.