A renewed rebel offensive in eastern Ukraine has increased the prospect of tougher Western measures against Russia. Separatists, backed by members of President Vladimir Putin’s special forces, have the Kiev government’s troops surrounded on three sides near Debaltseve and in danger of being trapped. Their strategy appears to be aimed at securing an improved defensive perimeter to hold on to their territorial gains. But the outcome of this war of attrition could ultimately bring down both sides.

THE CEASEFIRE in eastern Ukraine is breaking down and the daily casualty lists are rising amid a renewed rebel offensive. The fresh surge in violence, says the United Nations, is ‘catastrophic’...

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
Russian forces may not even opt for a head-on assault on Debaltseve, but merely leave the surrounded troops to run out of food and ammunition
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