Awhile ago I forecast here that the outcome in Eastern Ukraine would be a Transniestria-like situation with the self-declared peoples' republics achieving de facto independence, backed by Russia, but not de jure. This became symbolized by whether western media would call the capital of the more eastern one "Luhansk" (Ukrainian) or "Lugansk" (Russian), and I declared that it would be "Lugansk," (some western media, such as the Washington Post have called it both names at different times).
Well, it seems that world-dominatrix Angela Merkel has gotten to Vladimir Putin and he now seems not to be backing the rebels there, even though their two main leaders, Igor Strelkov and Alexander Borodai, are born-in-Russia Russian citizens. They are now complaining of a lack of support from Putin, and they have been denounced in Russian media as "wreckless" and other such not favorable descriptors, apparently reflecting Putin's lack of support from them. Crimea is enough to chew on for him, it would appear.
The real bottom line, of course, is on the ground, and there the formerly hapless Ukrainian military seems to have gained the upper hand, driving Strelkov out of his stronghold in Slovyansk. An ultimate showdown in Donetsk appears to be in the works, and this may be over soon, especially if Putin continues his current attitude.
A curious aspect of this is how a number of progressive folk, including British economist Alan Freeman and British computer scientist sometimes economist, Paul Cockshott, have fallen for the line that the rebels are great progressives. Maybe, but Strelkov has been an open supporter of monarchism, and the Putin regime is not remotely progressive. It is true that there are neo-fascist elements in the Ukrainian leadership, but identifying the entire Ukrainian government as "fascist" and attempting to invoke World War II in all this has simply been a ridiculous propaganda ploy, I think these people should be embarrassed that they have fallen for such nonsense.