It feels like Putin is going back to Plan B, or C, which is scaling back his ambitions for Ukraine, from taking the whole of the country, to taking Donbas, and securing a land bridge to Crimea – hence the importance of Mariupol, which is on the way.
Great article again. Thank you for your levelled and logical insight as usual. Sadly it doesn’t look good in the near future regardless of who wins the Donbas War. If Putin wins it gives him reason and barbaric lust to continue his land grabs over the coming years and will mean he avoids The Hague. If Putin realises he is losing I, like you, believe he will turn to tactical nukes or equivalent. Whilst this is likely to force the hand of NATO, it comes at a huge cost. I also don’t see Ukraine accepting any peace deal unless they are completely defeated, which I also don’t see. Ukraine is now in a war so nothing left to negotiate. Putin has shown his hand. I do see a possible stalemate which potentially drags this war on for a very long time. No real good outcome here but I think now more than ever we need to decide we want Putin defeated at all costs and the West need to shout this loud and clear. Russia is nothing more than a mafia state with millions of zombies willing to commit acts of terrorism for the sake of genocide on the basis of a fake/made up history. The only way to end this is total destruction of Russias army and economy, with new government and current government all charged with War crimes. I don’t say this lightly.
while I have no issues with your military scenario analysis, I wonder just how weak Russia will be financially going forward given they still do possess significant amounts of real assets. However, I think a much bigger concern for them is the poor disposition of their military kit in the war. you are correct, who wants to buy something that fails when it is needed most? In the end, it certainly seems as though this action by Putin has become a much higher risk venture than he imagined two months ago.