The pro-Russian separatists, their supporter Russia and the cash-strapped Ukrainian government are all interested in as rapid an end to the crisis as possible, said the Estonian president's security adviser, Merle Maigre.
With yesterday bringing reports of two more planes down, both of them military and reportedly shot down from Russian territory, and pitched battles in eastern Ukraine, Maigre said that the escalation could signal a "rapid endgame."
The intensification could attest to it being a rapid endgame. Both sides are interested in a quick end. The Ukrainian government has run out of money in its reserve fund; it is estimated there is only enough money left for 10 days of warfare. On the other hand, it appears from the mood in the security council convened by Putin that Putin is also interested in a quick peace. Actually the eastern Ukrainian separatists' posits are weakening and the balance of forces is to their detriment, she said.
Although yesterday's summit of regional heads of state in Warsaw produced "surprising " solidarity on NATO and optimism on defense spending, Maigre said the sides remained split on Russia and produced no round condemnation of the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. Outrage had been more unequivocal on the EU foreign ministers' level, she said.
As to Putin's own declaration that NATO "meddling" near its borders would not go unanswered, Maigre saw it as a way to save face and win time.
"I would actually see it as Russia's decision not to escalate its military force in eastern Ukraine. Yes, they are increasing the army presence near Ukraine, but not enough for an occupation. They're continuing their practice to date: supporting combatants, sending arms over the border and maybe shoot [across the border]."