It's now undeniable that Russia is openly invading eastern Ukraine with thousands of troops and heavy weaponry.
TPM (from the AP):
I was struck by this passage from that TPM article:
Novoazovsk, which lies along the road connecting Russia to the Russia-annexed Crimean Peninsula, had come under shelling for three days, with the rebels entering it on Wednesday. This area had previously escaped the fighting that has engulfed areas to the north, and the only way rebels could have reached the southeast was coming through Russia.(my emphasis)
The new southeastern front raised fears that the separatists are seeking to create a land link between Russia and Crimea. If successful, it could give them or Russia control over the entire Sea of Azov and the gas and mineral riches that energy experts believe it contains. Ukraine already lost roughly half its coastline, several major ports and significant Black Sea mineral rights in March when Russia annexed Crimea.
n Mariupol, a city of 450,000 about 30 kilometers (20 miles) to the west of Novoazovsk, a brigade of Ukrainian forces arrived at the airport on Wednesday, while deep trenches were dug a day earlier on the city's edge.
Ever since Putin invaded and annexed Crimea in March 2014, I've been saying it is inevitable that he will seize enough of eastern Ukraine to create a land bridge between Russia and Crimea.
This prediction was roundly mocked by the large pro-Putin contingent here.
It now seems likely I was right.
But for Putin to accomplish this, he needs to do more than take medium-sized towns. He would need to conquer the large city of Mariupol, which is heavily defended.
I was a bit surprised to see no diary on this so far today.