Putin's got his teeth sunk deep into Ukraine and he's not letting go.
Over the winter, a lull in the fighting between Russian-backed rebels and the Ukrainian military was mistaken by many to be an observance of the terms of a February ceasefire agreement signed in Minsk. That agreement was never observed by either party. In fact, the days that followed that agreement were characterized by a major offensive by pro-Russian insurgents that resulted in the humiliating retreat of Ukrainian soldiers from the strategic railway hub of Debaltseve.More here.
But not everyone was fooled by the reduced intensity of the fighting. After traveling to the front late last month, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark warned that the Russians were preparing for a new offensive in Ukraine as soon as the snows melted. He noted that this flare-up could be expected to begin anytime between the Orthodox Easter (April 12) and the 70th Anniversary of the surrender of Germany in World War II (May 8). Clark was right.
“The Ukrainian military’s ATO press center claims today that Russian-backed forces committed 30 violations of the ceasefire between 18:00 and midnight yesterday,” Interpreter Magazine reported on Thursday. Interpreter analysts determined that the fighting had returned to pre-ceasefire levels.