The tragic murder of Alexandr Zakharchenko solidified Ukraine's intent to retake the Donbass region by force. We know the attack on Donetsk Republic leadership was meant to throw the fledgling nation into an emotional and political turmoil and cause a crisis in succession for the Republic
Ukraine gravely miscalculated the response Poroshenko received which was both deliberate and dignified by Donetsk Republic leadership and LNR's interim president Leonid Pasechnik.
The murder was possibly to set up the conditions for a September 14th assault.
Donetsk People's Republic Operations Command spokesman Daniil Bezsonov notes Ukraine is making a lot of noise but doesn't have the fuel or munitions on hand. To make an assault from Mariupol possible they need to resupply. Donetsk Intel says Ukraine is trying to remedy this for the 14th and Ukraine has over 12,000 troops ready.
It's common knowledge US and NATO trainers have been hard at work training Ukraine's new and improved army. The problem with the army is that even with new and improved weaponry, tactics, and equipment, it still remains essentially what it was in 2014-2015.
In reality, it fits right into the outlook of Ukraine's civil and military leadership to mount an attack without the supplies for the tanks to make it to the battle lines.
At Ilovaisk, Ukraine hoped to celebrate their victory in the civil war in August 2014. Instead, Ukrainian leadership got a lesson in how deeply layered ineptness was ingrained across Ukraine's military leadership.
Not being able to deny this, even the Kiev Post laments the fact that Ukraine's officer corps was so poor, its inherent strength lay in its ability to snatch victory out of Kiev's hands and deliver it to Donbass militia forces it was fighting time and again.
In a crushing article by Andrew Higgins for the New York Times, Petr Poroshenko is described as the perfect kind of partner NATO should be seeking right now. Even though Ukraine's military budget has jumped from 2.5 % to 5% of the national budget, Ukraine's corruption is using the extra bonanza money to set up plush accounts for Poroshenko's friends and business associates.
In Jan 2018, Ukraine announced it was purchasing 100 new ambulances for use on the front lines of the conflict which was music to the ears of Ukrainians on the front lines. The no-bid contract went to Poroshenko's good friend Oleg Gladkovsky and the ambulances came pre-broken down. Ukrainians on the front lines will be stuck using wheelbarrows for the casualties again because corruption is so rabid in Ukraine. They will be lucky not to get paintball body armor like they did in 2014.
According to the Times article, "There is no proof that he influenced purchasing decisions, and there never will be. It is all secret," said Victor Chumak, an independent member of the Ukrainian Parliament and deputy chairman of its anticorruption committee. "The merging of politics and business is our biggest problem."
What Chumak describes is called Corporatism or Fascism. It is going on in real time in 2018 Ukraine. Are reforms possible under this type of government? They never have been anywhere else it's been tried.
So, with all the new training and all the new weapons the Ukrainian military in 2018 must be much better prepared than in 2014, right? Wrong.
If that was the case, Ukrainian soldiers and officers would not be suffering a moral and morale crisis so great, they are voting with their feet and retreating from Ukrainian armed services.
According to Ukraine's Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak , 11,000 servicemen and officers left service because they were demoralized by the conditions. The soldiers paid less than low paid citizens. Another 18,000 are leaving this year.