First of all, let’s see Scott Ritter’s take:
Basically, the Russians structured the battlefield in a way where they have very little if any casualties as a function of time, the Ukrainians are sustaining huge casualties and material losses as a function of time, and now the Russians are basically doing to NATO what NATO was planning to do to them – they are bleeding the enemy and letting time do the work for them. NATO attempts to target Russia proper show desperation on the part of NATO – basically, they understand that they’re fucked and now they are trying to escalate things and change the setup so that the function of time doesn’t cause so much of a one-sided loss.
I would say that Russia will have their hands full with saboteurs, because some of the damage they’ve sustained is internally caused.
Economically speaking, the EU is sustaining the worst damage, and the gas is still flowing. When that changes, time will start running out for the “united Europe”.
The statements made by NATO countries are getting more and more, should I say, nervous? in ways that are diplomatically ill-advised unless you want to get nuked. This behaviour seems to be caused by the fact that they are losing Ukraine, in ways they didn’t predict. What they predicted was a quick war where Russia takes Ukraine but then they have a long-term guerrilla warfare on their hands, basically a second Afghanistan, where the West will keep feeding the slow fire that will bleed Russia into bankruptcy and social unrest, causing the second 1990s that will lead to the country’s breakup and destruction. What they got is prolonged “hot” warfare in which Russia keeps destroying the ammo and weapons the West keeps sending about as fast as it arrives, they neutralised the Ukrainian army to the point of a rat hunt, Russia is having less economic difficulties with the sanctions regime than the West, Ruble is actually above the pre-war levels, the Russians keep testing and improving their tactics and weapons, Putin is more popular than ever, and the West is less popular in Russia than probably at any time since the late 1980s. Also, NATO had to increase the support to Ukraine to the point where America, Britain, Poland, Romania and Germany, to name a few prominent ones, are in de facto open war with Russia, and the only thing missing is the official acknowledgment of this fact by Russia, followed by hypersonic missiles (nuclear-tipped or not) hitting the NATO bases. Putin already warned of such an outcome:
Russian president Vladimir Putin has warned outside forces against interfering in the Ukrainian conflict, promising a “lightning-speed” response to such actions, with the use of Moscow’s most advanced weaponry.
“If someone decides to intervene in the ongoing events from the outside and create unacceptable strategic threats to us, they should know that our response to those oncoming blows will be swift, lightning-fast,” Putin said in an address to lawmakers on Wednesday.
“We have all the tools to do this. Tools that no one except us can brag about. But we’re not going to brag. We’ll use them if such a need arises,” the president said, without specifying which tools could be deployed.
Russian authorities have already made all necessary decisions to prepare for such a response, he added.
Also, I would expect the strikes on Russian territory to be answered soon, and not necessarily in ways one would expect.
Edit: American troops are moving to the Romania-Moldova border:
My interpretation is that the Americans will try to militarily seize Transnistria in order to prevent the connection of the Russian forces in Ukraine, on the Odessa side, with Transnistria, which would greatly improve Russian position and make any attempt of Ukraine to achieve exit to the Black Sea very difficult. The problem with this idea is that the Russians are very unlikely to allow it.