The clever plan is working! And by "working" I don't necessarily mean that it is working teleologically in the sense of being purposeful or achieving a rational purpose (or telos).
In the middle of their offensive around Debaltzevo (and after announcing an offensive on Mariupol and then disclaiming it two hours later--a week ago), Zakharchenko shouldered by Plotnisky has stated that they "plan no offensive" and that they now "demand that Kiev sit down at the negotiating table," after saying that the Minsk talks are over.
As at the end of last August, Moscow now demands "immediate cessation of combat operations," with no clear principled denunciation of the intensive shelling and attacks on the civilian population of Donbass by the Kiev junta alias "partners." The trouble is that, without pushing the junta troops away from the population centers of Donbass, no deals will make the junta stop its artillery attacks on the cities.
The fact is that the Minsk deal saved the junta troops from two underreported cauldrons, from which the deal extracted them. One was near Volnovakha (easily checked on the military maps from then) and the other was south of Gorlovka, which later merged with the Debaltzevo salient and where, as Bezler later stated, 4000 Kiev soldiers were trapped. Remember (and it can be easily checked) that, back then in late August), Putin demanded that the Army of Novorossisya give "humanitarian corridors" to the junta troops. I doubt that the Soviet generals knew about this strategic invention. Unfortunately, this humanitarianism has been lost on the Kiev troops who, from the very start, made it clear that they are not going to distinguish between civilians and "terrorists," as they call all those whom they don't control.
Giving an almost defeated army a way-out in the form of "humanitarian corridors" in order to let it rearm, regroup, and reload and continue its intended genocide is an unorthodox move, which it would be futile and senseless to expect as being ever returned as a favor or as a reciprocal measure.
One may certainly argue that such concern for the fascist army is either a sign of unfathomable strategic cleverness or by unmatched humanitarianism and moderation as opposed to being exacted under pressure and threats. However, it is worth bearing in mind that, in exchange for this unprecedented willingness to reject one's own hard-won victory and such "humanitarian corridors," the ensuing Minsk deal was stipulating a "corridor" for Novorossiya out of Novorossiya and back into the fold of the "one, united and undivided"--instead of a "humanitarian corridor" out of the Nazi, Banderite tyranny,
The new initiative appears to intend to do something similar with the current Debaltzevo cauldron.