This is a difficult question. The sympathizers of each of the parties have their own point of view on this issue - naturally, the diametrical one. However, for the most part it lies in the standard "throwing caps." The problem is that there are caps on both sides, but there are also very serious problems.
Victory for Kiev
Kiev, without any doubt, has very serious chances for a military victory. I’ll clarify that we are talking about a military victory, that is, the defeat of the militia forces opposing it. With a political victory, questions remain at any outcome of events.
The most important advantage of the junta is the overwhelming superiority in heavy weapons and absolute supremacy in the air. Organizationally, Kiev has a significant advantage, which is expressed in the current state and military machine. If his opponents are only at the stage of formation of their organizational structures, which leads to a very high randomness, loss of efforts to overcome managerial inconsistencies, Kiev has the opportunity, even with extremely low performing discipline, to carry out all the necessary activities - from mobilization to putting into operation of canned equipment ahead of it destruction rate.
The absolute advantage of Kiev is outside help - in people, specialists, money, technical means and intelligence data. For the militia all this is not available. Consider the hypothesis of assistance from Russia (meaning organized assistance) while you can be in a number of equally exotic, as the arrival of a space marines from the Nibiru galaxy or the transfer of some kind of combat magic technologies from local gnome miners. In any case, while this exotic is irrelevant.
The above, plus the experience of the war for Slavyansk, suggests a strategy for the actions of the punitive army. Without engaging in contact combat, equate with fire any centers of resistance, including potential ones. Residential areas, industrial areas, ravines, forests and landings, fields - it does not matter. Any place where militiamen are, or may even be, must be bombarded with shells and filled with fire from all types of rifle weapons. Only after that - the advancement of armored vehicles - and already after him the advancement of infantry. Any resistance means only one thing - a departure to the original and a repetition of the past.
The tactics are extremely barbaric, but the punitive cannot afford anything else - they do not have full-fledged infantry. All the protracted armed clashes with the militia still ended the same way - only today it was reported that 70% of the personnel of the Azov battalion in Saur-Grave were destroyed. What actually means the elimination of it as a unit. "Azov" withdrawn for re-formation.
The Donbass battalion, which has already passed two reincarnations, no longer rushes to the front, but wishes to fight in the “liberated” Slavyansk, where it can put all men into the ground without much risk. The logic is simple - once survived, it means either a separatist or their accomplice.
The bottleneck of such a strategy is an insufficient number of artillery systems. They are incredibly many compared to the militia artillery, but catastrophically few in order to spread the developed infastructure of the region in a short time. On the other hand, even this relatively small number of punitive artillery is experiencing a need for a very large amount of ammunition that needs to be brought up, wasting increasingly scarce fuel, and the fleet of the Ukrainian army is not dimensionless, and its condition is extremely worn.
In order to roll over the million-plus city of Donetsk, as a hundred-thousandth and much more compact Slavyansk, Kiev will have to either find somewhere new artillery barrels (and also everything else associated for the continuous supply of shells), or accept the months-long siege of the city. Or go ahead, spitting on any loss in manpower and technology.
With Lugansk, the situation looks completely symmetrical - while the punishers are forced to wipe out entire blocks of settlements from the face of the earth. Moving forward, but very slowly. Basically it succeeds where the militia simply does not have people and, accordingly, resistance.
Aviation because of its small number of punishers, it is not able to play a decisive role in the destruction of Donetsk and Lugansk, it seems that it cannot interact with the ground forces - both because it is not trained in this and because of the complete inability to do this from the ground forces. Therefore, the junta attack aircraft can use mainly as a tool of terror for civilians - as is already happening.
The exit and unimpeded march of a rather considerable column of Strelkov proved that the supremacy in the air of Kiev is absolutely incapable of pouring into his tactical victories. For example, the withdrawal of Khamis Gaddafi’s brigade from Misrata in a similar situation led to its merciless bombardment by NATO forces, which had the opportunity to conduct reconnaissance from the air and coordinate the actions of their attack aircraft located hundreds of kilometers from the scene. Kiev is deprived of such chic opportunities.
One way or another, Kiev will first have to solve a very difficult task to pull down everything assembled under Slavyansky under Donetsk, to provide its protection, supply of ammunition, to tighten infantry - and only after that it will be possible to begin to destroy the city. The junta will take at least two to three weeks to do everything, and if you consider the possibility of a war on communications, this period may be delayed for a longer time.
Whatever one may say - but the time factor continues to play a key role. The timid statements of the world community, the search for a peaceful settlement, or the three hundred and fifty-third teachings of the next military district of Russia do not produce any influence on the events, but the street that the media continue to keep in hysterical condition presses on the junta. The influence of the street is skillfully used by Poroshenko’s opponents, who have already pushed through the decision to end the truce — and they demand immediate results. The longer the ATO continues (although, of course, the ATO is no longer possible to call it), the more seriously Poroshenko will face the issue of its termination. He is in a certain zugzwang - it is impossible to complete quickly, to pull - to get the third Maidan, in which the scumbag Lyashko is gaining more and more strong positions.
Poroshenko, who was appointed from Washington, is well aware of who is pumped up with money and Lyashko rating. The third Maidan (or parliamentary elections) will lead to the power of undisguised fascists, after which any rational calculations fly to hell, and Poroshenko will be responsible for the lack of diligence in suppressing the separatists.
Therefore, the longer the ATO is delayed, the more likely Poroshenko will choose a peaceful solution of the issue in order to focus on the situation in Kiev. The war for him becomes an opportunity with the hands of the "separatists" to exterminate the most frostbitten Nazis, on which Lyashko (or other Nazi leaders) can ultimately rely on. Therefore, it cannot be ruled out - or rather, it must be assumed that this time ground attacks and assaults by the Right Sector battalions and territorial battalions will be conducted more often than in Slavyansk. Win - all the laurels of Poroshenko. If they do not win, they will decrease in number. The media, of course, add heat, but voluntary sets are becoming more and more sluggish and without flames - the bulk of those who want to destroy the “Colorado” are already in the ranks.
There is also a financial factor that plays a significant role - and it is not necessary to expect that the war will be paid for in full. The West is able to pull funding for jihadists, who are very moderate in appetites and consume less resources. Pull the whole bankrupt country, and even the leading war, the United States will not. Europe - even more so. It is a pity.
However, it is not necessary to rely only on a lack of finances - by itself it is not critical, it can become such only in combination with other factors.
Thus, it can be assumed that the maximum duration of the current phase of the ATO will last no more than two months — it will not be able to go for more Poroshenko. Naturally, if during these two months Kiev achieves a result that will allow him to inflict a serious defeat on the militia, the time limit will be extended - to a full and final military victory. But this defeat will still need to inflict.
And this is where the opportunities begin which, under certain circumstances, will be able to play for the militia.