I am not that pessimistic. Unlike Poro, Zakharchenko and Plotnisky are not puppets. Pawns, perhaps. But a pawn can be promoted...
And I consider the junta regime very weak. It can only maintain its hold on power with reppressive measures, but even if the Novorussians don't reach Kiev, the regime would crumble if the army is defeated, economic collapse aside.
Back to the front. Seems this time is for real and not saber rattling. That they took half a dozen villages in the neutral zone could be securing jump off positions. They are also moving troops to Lugansk, of course it is a feint, but would still fix Lugansk troops in place.
The situation in Donbass is heating up: Kiev moves equipment and troops to Lugansk
The situation along the line of contact in Luhansk People's Republic became more complex over the past three days. Ukrainian security forces intensified the shelling of territories of the Republic and positions of the NAF. Currently, gunfire occurs daily on objects of the LPR, with the Kiev military using small arms and anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades along with mortars.
As was reported by "Russian Spring", with reference to the representatives of the self-proclaimed LPR, December 6th, in the Slavyanoserbsk district, saw the attack of a Plant, named after Lenin, from small arms and antitank grenade launchers. Fire was opened on the NAF side of the city Happiness (Shchastya). Anti-aircraft guns and mortars of 82-mm caliber were fired at the village of Bold from positions of the Kiev.
On December 7th, fighters of the Ukrainian armed forces fired automatic grenade launchers at a NAF checkpoint near the village of Mikhailovka, near the city of Pervomaisk.
In addition, it became known that the Ukrainian security forces continue to move military equipment and personnel to the frontline. According to the LPR forces, up to 200 personnel of the armed forces arrived in Svatovo, with two columns of military equipment with staff of about 60 people arriving in Severodonetsk.