ERR Correspondent: Russian Army in Ukraine Digging In For Long Winter
According to new agreements between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists, both sides will move heavy equipment at least 15 kilometers from the front line, but according to ERR's correspondent Igor Taro, who visited the conflict areas earlier in the month, this will be only partially done.
The 30 kilometer heavy artillery and tank-free zone should bring peace, but only in theory, Taro said, adding that the three hotspots of Donetsk, Debaltseve and Mariupol will remain.
He said Ukrainian intelligence said Russian troops in Ukraine are preparing for a long winter with the construction of supply bases. The third so-called humanitarian convoy skipped formalities and bypassed Ukrainian border checkpoints, bringing supplies to the separatists, Taro said.
The status quo has shined light on new problems, including the lack of administrative capabilities of the separatists. The current leaders, a third rotation since spring, are busy dividing spoils instead of preparing for winter and few can recall under what circumstances they were named leaders, he said.
Russia is trying to direct blame elsewhere and Vladimir Putin's words about the need for territorial integrity of Ukraine mean that he does not want to pay for the reconstruction and feeding of eastern Ukraine, Taro said.
CORRECTION: Igor Taro was analyzing developments from Estonia, not currently reporting from the frontlines as a previous headline suggested.