The conflict in the Donbas is an actual Russian-Ukrainian war, says Doug Schoen, a political expert and columnist. "Moscow won't admit it, but Russia is at war with Ukraine," Schoen writes.
"It's hard to draw any other conclusion from reports that Russian regular forces have moved into eastern Ukraine and are attacking Ukrainian military units amid a flare-up of violence this past week," the expert says.
Russia does not get tired to deny that the rebel forces in the Donbas are not supplied with troops and other resources from Moscow, but the Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk clearly explains how ridiculous these denials are, the author writes. "Tanks, GRAD multiple rocket systems, BUK and SMERCH systems, radio electronic intelligence systems are not sold at local Donetsk street markets. Only the Russian army and Defense Ministry have them," Schoen quotes the head of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
The author notes that "so far, Russian assistance to the separatists has mostly taken the form of advanced military equipment and paramilitary forces to advise and assist local rebels.
But now, Russia is reported to have moved two battalions of regular troops across the border, with three more battalions of motorized infantry and an artillery division on the way."
The author urges the leaders of the civilized world to continue to be united and uncompromising, "when it comes to Russia's naked aggression and flagrant disregard for international law in Ukraine."
The sanctions must be strictly maintained, and the list of sanctioned officials updated regularly.
Francois Hollande and some other Western leaders have recently expressed the intention to ease sanctions if Russia agrees to participate in constructive talks, but the author warns that "Russia has agreed to sit down at the negotiating table several times, with the resulting agreements having little effect on reality."
Schoen believes that the Kremlin is ready to invest huge resources and take big risks to achieve its goals in Ukraine. "America and the West must be no less invested in achieving peace, defending sovereignty, and protecting international norms by refusing to allow Russia to achieve its aims in Ukraine," the author sums up.