In the past two articles, I've examined how the crisis in Ukraine unfolded and the makeup of the "activists" that made the overthrow of Yanukovych possible. At the time, the stage was set to be yet another Ukrainian color revolution. Fund massive protests, pressure the President, the President resigns, and a puppet President takes his place. After that, the fleecing of the Ukrainian people could begin anew, Ukraine could join NATO, and Russia would be further physically encircled with a hostile organization pointing missiles and machinery at it from the other side of the border. The "Euromaidan" was successful.
Then Russian involvement In Ukraine began.
Despite being vastly outgunned and out-manned by Ukrainian ultra-right militias and the Ukrainian military, Eastern Ukrainians were managing to not only defend themselves but also to drive Western Ukrainian forces back. This led many to speculate as to whether or not Russia had committed troops to support the Eastern Ukrainian rebels against Kiev. Western media and the governments it speaks for began crowing about Russian troops in Ukraine and "Russian aggression." Russia, for its part, denied any involvement beyond humanitarian shipments to civilians.
The truth is somewhat murkier, however.
While Russian involvement at this point has been completely defensive, there is also undoubtedly Russian involvement.
Try as it might to deny that Russian fighters are present in Ukraine, evidence showing the ID's of dead Russian nationals have been produced by Western operatives. Propaganda as it may be, this much at least is real. Russia, of course, claims the nationals are merely volunteers (a tactic Russia has used in other areas) but the greater likelihood is that the individuals in question were only disguised as volunteers and were indeed working for the Russian government. In other words, the idea of volunteering is merely so that the Russian government can maintain plausible deniability. Keep in mind, Eastern Ukrainians were a poorly trained and poorly armed militia, yet they have been able to fight off their own countries' army backed by the United States and its own network of Nazi militias.
This is hardly plausible without assistance from outside. It should also be pointed out that, in March 2014, shortly before the tide began to turn for East Ukraine, President Putin was able to secure a vote in Parliament to use military force to protect Russian interests in Ukraine.
Russia negotiated a shaky ceasefire.
Russia managed to negotiate a ceasefire between the east and west, known as the Minsk Protocol. However, the ceasefire is incredibly fragile with skirmishes occurring regularly, usually as a result of Kiev's continued attempt to push east. As a result of the ceasefire, the battle lines have become de facto borders for two Ukraines. One is Kiev and the other known as Donbass, made up of two regions, Lugansk and Donetsk, known as the Lugansk People's Republic and Donetsk People's Republic respectively. Together, the LPR and DPR have named themselves Malorossiya, or "Little Russia.