Ukraine is being very public about its troops approaching the conflict zone. Policy-makers are growing increasingly concerned over the prospects of a new bout of warfare. Ruslan Khomchak, Head of Ukraine's General Staff, has announced that the nation's armed forces are ready to go on the offensive in Donbass. RISS expert Oleg Nemensky believes that this is all part of the current Ukrainian government's plans to interfere with the execution of the Minsk Protocols while letting Russia take the blame.
The expert also highlights that Russia, in the meanwhile, shares an overall stance on resolving the situation peacefully with France and Germany. Kyiv is currently trying to coax its partners from the Normandy contact group into having another summit. It is already evident that this is merely a push to accept Kyiv's demands, which actually contradict the Minsk Protocols – meaning that the summit will not yield any results. 'The likelihood the Kyiv will once again set its partners up politically is currently very low,' the expert noted.
At the same time, Ukraine does not need a major war, be it advancement into Donetsk and Lugansk or any serious progress along the front lines. Kyiv is unable to win Donbass back for financial and electoral reasons; nor is it able to allow for major frontline progress – for political reasons, as this is bound to result in military defeat. The current Ukrainian government has very low ratings, and any new failure may escalate the domestic situation, bringing it to a pre-revolutionary boiling point. Oleg Nemensky summarises, what Kyiv needs is a bloody military conflict that will only last for a few days, enough to draw attention from the West and provide justification for accusing Russia of sabotaging the Minsk Protocols.