Media/Asymmetric Warfare: The Ukraine War of 2014-X is an interesting (even if also sad and troubling) example of asymmetic warfare developing into something close to a civil war. The coverage from western news agencies gives a skewed image. That image can be improved to a more balanced take by following the RIA Novosti and ITAR-TASS news agency websites. In addition following certain keywords on Twitter, such as #NAF brings to light a vast source of information from the ground as each side publishes its victories.
Warcrimes/Civilian Killings: Videos on youtube show destroyed civilian cars along a “road of death” in South-Eastern Ukraine. According to the civilian ukrainian (russian) commentary they had been taken out by forces fighting for the Western Ukraine over hours and days, killing many. In the video a tank is shown that was picking the civilian cars off. There’s even an ambulance with a red cross in a field just 20meters from the road, burn out. Destroyed.
Local Population Support: In other videos you can see that NAF (Novorussia Armed Forces) are being given water by elderly civilians who are holding out in their houses. In others you hear the local rebels are eating with the civilians close to their positions. They also get information about troop movement from them. (From my time in the Swiss Army I can recall that this is immensly usefull, especially for small sabotage units or checkpoint soldiers.)
Elite Soldiers: In a rare video which shows Ukraine army units prisoners being questioned by #NAF commander in the background something can be seen which makes clear that the asymetric warfare is still ongoing: Several masked soldiers can be seen holding their machine gun in a different way than soldiers of the ‘regular forces’ in most other NAF videos. These guys are in constant high alert, like I’ve only ever seen pro/elite soldiers doing. It could also be seen in the Krim-phase of the war.
Increasing Troops Numbers: As the war goes on, more and more locals have been conscripted, it seems. Even though in one video an officer of the NAF can been telling journalists off, that many able, fighting men weren’t joining them locally. He goes on to say that only those prooving themselves worthy by making sacrificies will be put in positions of power when the time comes for a new local government.
Humanitarian aid becoming neccessary after destruction of the water system and electricity in certain cities gave Russia the chance to send aid. Aid that increases the likelihood of winning hearts of the local population in that area.
Cauldrons: There have also been some very interesting blog posts about the strategy of creating cauldrons, cutting off supplies of regular ukrainian army troops, wearing down moral of troops from the Western Ukraine. After having watched a documentary about the way the german elite eastern army was destroyed, it is clear the commanders in charge of NAF have studied stategies in detail.
NATO Satellite images: Something that was also interesting: The images the NATO published recently don’t seem to be from a military satellite and also aren’t time and location stamped. They also aren’t very high resolution, quite to the contrary.
Winter: Another thing that will make fighting tougher: Winter temperatures. Here the advantage would lie with those supported by the local population.
Economics: Stories like “Ukrainian oligarch sells Illich Iron & Steel Works in – the second largest metallurgical enterprise in Ukraine.”