"...it's important to bear in mind when you talk about separatism in the east [of Ukraine], we're talking about activity in two eastern regions, out of six. And if you look at the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, which are predominantly Russian speaking -- that's nine regions. And in only two, and at that only parts of two, are the separatists pretty firmly in control. So that context has to be borne in mind.
The Russians' tactics are rapidly adjusting. When the Russians started this whole enterprise in eastern Ukraine, they expected that the citizen population living there would rise up in their support. And that has not happened. We had hundreds of thousands of people on the street in Kiev [referring to the original protests in December], you have not have that in Donetsk and Luhansk -- the fighters have been supported by at most crowds of hundreds, and at most a few thousands.
So they started changing tactics then. And I think the election itself has been a further blow to them.
Their preoccupation still is to get Western acquiescence in an overall deal that will federalize Ukraine in such a way that the regions it partially controls will not only have autonomy, but have veto power over the central government itself. That's what they mean by federalization..."
Will withdrawal of armed separatists/proxies help Putin achieve his goal? Most unlikely...For this reason Kyiv have no other choice but to continue their anti-terrrorist operation [ATO]