Phase I – Crimea
Phase II – Novorossiya to Crimea (stalled)
Phase III – Winter campaign to expand Novorossiya to Crimea.
Crimea cannot be sustainable by ferry and planes. Russia needs a land bridge to hold onto Crimea. Establishing the Novorossiya region is imperative.
This ceasefire with Poroshenko is about to break and the Separatist forces, openly backed by Russian forces in Ukrainian sovereign soil, is far better armed and equipped now for a winter offensive than the Ukrainian national forces. They will press their advantage to seize and expand lands under their control, before the snow and blizzards end the fighting season.
The sham local elections in the Donbas is the same pretext as it is in Crimea for legitimizing the proxy thugs subservient to Moscow to declare the violation of ceasefire as justification for a new offensive to eject Ukrainian government forces and push west.
The Ukrainians do not have the firepower and neither do any other nation. NATO and the US now are too distracted by ISIS to intervene. Sanctions cannot toll back facts on the ground and Russia wants those facts to favor them.
Unless the Ukrainians are prepared to obliterate entire Russian units with mass warfare and send thousands of Russians home in coffins, making their involvement in the war too obvious to hide, the Russians will keep pushing and taking territory away.
This winter is about to get hot.