It is clear that Russia, Kiev, and the US must have struck some deal before September 5 and both the West and Kiev are showing that whatever they promise is as good as a promise given to Gorbachev, the traitor, that NATO would not expand east. At the same time, it is also evident that the Army of Novorossiya is of now under orders not to make any major offensive.
Strelkov's escape from Slavyansk was a key factor in changing or postponing a similar deal which was in the works back then, and then the sudden increase in aid made a great difference relatively fast. But once its effectiveness was shown, the advance was stopped in its tracks and even rolled back around Mariupol in the south.
So unless the decisions are final, I would say that right now there is some intense battle within the Russian elite and that this battle or war within the Russian elite had to be fought. The pressure of the US and the war in Ukraine is making this polarization a must. Neutrality or sitting at two chairs is no longer possible--except for doubles.
Today, at Minsk, the West and Kiev are certainly pushing for Novorossiya's surrender, while Novorossiya is trying to get out of them at least some minimal form of quasi recognition, which they have no intention of granting.
The Minsk "talks" have, moreover, been framed to give an appearance of talks, while denying real voice and agency to Novorossiya. The Minsk Deal was clearly made and agreed upon before September 5--in-between the US, the EU, Kiev, and Russia .... with no detectable prior input by the Novorossiya leadership or their say in it.
The official agenda for today was a priori defined merely as Implementation: "The agenda of the talks focuses on the discussion of a document that will regulate the implementation of a ceasefire agreement between Kiev and independence supporters in eastern Ukraine, reached on September 5."
More specifically, the powers that be wanted to have these talks be reduced merely to passing on more specific instructions on the "implementation" of the junta's law of the special status of Donbass, wich was approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The intention is not to yield more than that.
Quite symbolic images of the opening of the new rounds of talks in Minsk: the world is big, then it comes down to relatively a few people holding in their hands the fates of so many.
A big circle with lots of empty space all around. How many real people are in that room? And why "trilateral talks" exclude the fourth--the OSCE, the other EU and West proxy there?
Russia is trying officially to pretend that this is all an internal problem of Ukraine, the solution to which the Russian leadership can also support and assist without being "a party to the conflict." The big trouble with this ostrich-like position is not only that is ineffective, but also that no one believes it in any format any more.