Dreadful events in Odessa gave Ukraine a look into the abyss - but there's no sign it has decided to step back

The oSCE observers have arrived in Kiev. Credit: Reuters

If there was hope that Moscow's decision today - to either order or persuade its supporters to release the OSCE hostages - means that it has taken a view it wants to de-escalate things, there's no evidence of that yet.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry talked again on the phone today, but with reports that there was no sign of a breakthrough, no prospect of any sort of diplomatic move starting.

In the meantime, the Ukrainian ground offensive continues, slowly, but making progress. An attack on the separatist stronghold of Slaviansk would be bloody.

Yesterday's dreadful events in Odessa was the moment in which this country looked into the abyss. There is no sign that having seen what it saw there, it has decided to step back.