The sides in the Ukraine/Donbas civil war look about ready to resume serious violence again after clashes earlier this week between government troops and fighters for the “Donetsk People’s Republic” in the town of Marinka, on Donetsk’s western outskirts, killed somewhere in the neighborhood of 21 people. Shockingly, Kiev and Western governments have blamed the separatists and Russia for starting the fighting, while the separatists and Moscow have blamed Ukraine. There are reports of thousands of Russian troops already in Donbas, but then there are always reports of thousands of Russian troops already in Donbas, and since they all originate with Kiev, it’s hard to know just how accurate the information is. Russia of course denies sending any troops into Ukraine, but says that some Russian “volunteers” may have crossed the border, which if true raises interesting questions about discipline in the Russian army, if its soldiers can just “volunteer” to go fight someplace else if they feel like it.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is telling his parliament that a “full-scale Russian invasion” is possible if full-scale fighting resumes, and that’s possible, but it’s also very much in Poroshenko’s interests to paint a worst-case scenario for his international audience. Meanwhile, Western and Russian ambassadors to the UN are having a very dignified time shouting “NUH-UH, YOU STARTED IT” at each other in the Security Council.