BBC reports indicate pro-Russian forces, under Moscow’s guidance, are making daily headway in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian government forces have begun to challenge pro-Russian insurgents in the country’s east more aggressively – and for the first time are winning back territory.
After vicious battles in and around Kramatorsk, pro-Kiev troops have reportedly recaptured the town’s television station and security services building.
Elsewhere in the east, fighting also rages. There are reports of clashes near Andreevka, Kostyantynivka and the rebel base of Sloviansk.
The government seems finally to be taking the battle to the separatists, but can it gain the upper hand?
And eventually, many ask, can this newly muscular campaign unite the country, or will it divide it further and possibly provide a pretext for a Russian invasion?
After all, the pro-Russian gunmen still control towns and official buildings throughout Ukraine’s east.
And for each government advance, there are setbacks elsewhere.
In the past 24 hours, pro-Russian militants have stormed the governor’s office in Donetsk. In the southern port of Mariupol, they ransacked a bank and the local headquarters of the Fatherland political party, led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Moreover, locations that previously seemed somewhat stable are now at flashpoint.
The cosmopolitan, usually devil-may-care city of Odessa is today a powder keg, after pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian activists fought a street war on Friday, leaving more than 40 dead.
The majority of these were pro-Russian supporters who perished in a fire in a trade union building.
The clashes underscored the passivity – and possible disloyalty – of Ukraine’s police forces, who stood by and watched the mayhem unfold, and, if video footage is to be believed, provided cover for pro-Russian protesters shooting at, and killing, pro-Ukrainians.
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