The fog has been lifted. There is no serious doubt left that Russia is "now directly involved in the fighting" in Ukraine, as Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine has said on Twitter.

"Russian supplied tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and multiple rocket launchers have been insufficient to defeat Ukraine' armed forces. So now an increasing number of Russian troops are intervening directly in fighting on Ukrainian territory. Russia has also sent its newest air defense systems including the SA-22 into eastern Ukraine," he wrote.

Ulrich Speck
Speck was a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels, where his research focuses on the European Union’s foreign policy and Europe’s strategic role in a changing global environment.
More >

This is the step from proxy war to war. It is also probably the end of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's attempts to prevent the worst through diplomacy. She spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin more than 30 times this year on the phone, much more often than any other Western leader.

Read the full text of this article on CNN.