eehnie wrote:- Russia has not territorial apetite over territories without a clear local support.
- The most likely areas for new battles are inside the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, and are in contact with the current frontline (Stanytsia Luhanska, Mariupol, Avdeevka and Dzerzhinsk-Torets). This would come first.
- Russia does not want a global war.
Russia has/had no idea how to influence Ukrainians, if they did this mess wouldn't be as catastrophic as it is. The fact that Russia allowed basically an "anti-Russia" to grow and evolve right on its border, often encouraging it, shows how flawed their policies have been for the past three decades (or more).
Ukraine right now is geographically a mini-USSR under control of anti-Russia politics and tremendously strong ideology. Stronger than Putin's polls will ever be. The danger here is that Ukraine post-USSR and now post-Maidan is not just a country under a coup regime. It is a pseudo-nation under construction, huge landmass, big population with strong ideology to resist and erase anything Russian. Why did that happen? Combination of communism eroding national awareness, imposed language change, post-USSR history falsification, violence, coup, Russia's approval (on and off) and now war.
Kiev is the cultural birthplaces of all Russias, that is Belarus, Russia and Ukraine (not Lvov). If Russia (as in the Federation) lets one of the Russia's fall, they are next as they will have shown weakness. Crimea and barely half of Donetsk/Lugansk are peanuts to gain or hold compared to loosing places like Odessa, Kharkov, Kiev, Poltava, etc.
The same applies to a lesser extent with northern Kazakhstan, swathes of Russian lands were given away just because of the fake USSR borders. Now with them moving their capital right in the North that is also pretty much lost.
Sometimes inaction is enough to bring problems. Others just take advantage of things and who would blame them.
Russia may not want war, but they allowed it to brew and blow up on their faces.