Let me write down some of my thoughts on what’s going on in the war.
Ukraine has almost no army left. This conjecture is based on the increasing reports that everything but the untrained cannon fodder there are the NATO people playing dress-up, the way Russians dressed up as “little green men” in Crimea or Croatian army dressed up as the HVO (Herzegovina Croat paramilitary troops) when they went across the border in 1995 to crush the Serbs. Also, Ukraine has basically no original Ukrainian equipment left, and the NATO stuff is all centrally controlled over satellites and manned by trained NATO personnel. Basically, NATO troops are the glue binding the broken up Ukrainian military, and as time goes on there is increasingly more glue and less Ukraine.
The level of conflict is such that the NATO countries basically ran out of spare weaponry, and since their industries are incapable of producing quantities required for a real war (it’s all tuned for peacetime servicing and replacement of existing small quantities of stuff, and also military industry doesn’t work that well without oil, gas and electricity) they are now in a position where they are forced to deplete their own defensive capabilities if they want to continue with this war, and America/UK is not allowing any alternative to be heard.
There was some fuss here in Croatia about whether we should train Ukrainians here or not. I think this is only a fig leaf; Ukraine has no men to be trained. What is likely going on is that America is forcing subservient countries, like Croatia, to dress up their quota of troops as Ukrainans and send them to the Ukrainian front, weapons and all. When the extent of this is revealed, all hell will break loose, and there must already be a plan for NATO to openly enter the war at that point, so that the foreign troops can switch to their own uniforms, with puppet parliaments voting for their respective satrapies’ “voluntary” participation in the war. There are reports that the Russians already hear huge amount of radio chatter in Ukraine in foreign languages, so they have a pretty good idea what’s going on. I heard analyses stating that 40-80% of people fighting on the Ukrainian side at the moment are foreign NATO troops, depending on the region. I can’t confirm those numbers, but considering the reports of 5000 Poles being hit in the Ukrainian barracks, I would not be surprised.
The Russians still didn’t introduce the new recruits to the front line, but it is expected to happen when the soil in Ukraine freezes; autumn mud doesn’t favour movements of heavy equipment across vast swathes of terrain.
The Americans expect the Russians to go in for real, and seem to be making preparations that have to work with the assumption that the Russians will crush everything in their path and intend to actually keep everything they liberate this time, because the Bucha-like incidents where the Russians go in, the locals see them as liberators and help them, the Russians withdraw and the Ukrainian “special forces” then go in and kill all the “collaborators”, are currently seen as completely unacceptable by the Russian people. The Ukrops did the killing, but the Russian people see those who gave the order to withdraw as responsible. This shit will not be happening again. Next time Russia goes in, it stays forever. The corollary of this is that the Russians won’t enter the places where the population is not Russian – they don’t care to have a significant percentage of Ukrops on territory under their control, but they can also not allow the Ukrops to continue functioning in the un-liberated parts of Ukraine, which explains the infrastructure bombardment. I would assume that the Americans expect the Russians to take the entire Eastern Ukraine, and the Kiev regime to either collapse entirely, or be replaced by the Russians as something that governs the Central and Western Ukraine, but is not Russia proper. This will be the point where America could either accept defeat, or double down and go into the Western Ukraine with open NATO occupation (ahem, “brotherly assistance”) and the NATO-Russia front line will be established somewhere along the lines of the Dniepr river. Also, I would expect that the Americans will enter Moldova through Romania, and try to wipe out the Russian army detachment in Transnistria, and then proceed to Odessa to prevent the Russians from taking it, or, at least, prevent the Russians from joining with Transnistria. I would also expect the Americans to try and open up a second front somewhere around Belarus, forcing the Russians to commit significant forces there, and having to choose between abandoning their Belarusian ally and splitting their forces, thus relieving pressure from the Eastern front. This, however, will only make it more likely for the Russians to decide that they need to take the entire Ukraine, purge it of fascists and Western influences, and park their tanks on the Polish border.
What I see as likely when the Russians go in, is that the Ukrainian supposed allies, meaning the Poles above all, will see this as an opportunity to re-take the parts of Ukraine that they see as their historical lands, by basically going in with their army to “help” Ukraine, and never leave. When this happens, the Romanians, Hungarians and what not will also go into the fray and try to re-take their historical lands, and this might spell the end of Moldova as a state, by the way. The Americans must see this, and I would expect that the purpose of their 101st Airborne currently located in Romania might be not so much to stop the Russians (they are far too weak for this), but to constrain the territorial ambitions of their East European allies, or at least to remain in control of the process and be able to impose the desired political outcomes, because this could end up causing a very real intra-NATO territorial conflict, making NATO defunct.
In any case, I don’t see continued existence of Ukraine in any known form past this winter. However, so many things are in the works, and so many global systems are forced past their balance points, that we can expect cascade collapse of social, economic, political et al. systems, with unpredictable consequences, because we are dealing with chaos, and in chaotic systems predictions are a pastime of fools.