Back to ukraine:
War seems to be unfolding in a way no-one expected. I'm sure everyone has read this before but it bears repeating. Apart from some early successes in the east, the Russian advance seems to have come to a near standstill. Up to 20,000 killed (high US estimate, derived from sat imagery), at least x3 that number wounded - it's possible that of the 130 deployed battallion tactical groups more than half are now under strength/non deployable for the coming weeks/months, up to a third perhaps even destroyed entirely. The losses are completely devastating.
Looking at shared video footage of engagements it's still strange to see how amateuristic the ground forces appear to be. Large convoys moving around without air coverage, unable to effectively respond to ambushes, no effective combined arms engagements, too much old/faulty equipment, logistical issues also still remain. As the war progresses the Russians do seem to be improving, but at a huge cost. Tactics now have shifted to mass artillery bombardment, the Russians outgunning and outranging the Ukrainians. It's helping them inch forward here and there. You'll notice western governments are scrambling to send modern artillery to Ukraine to help them counter the threat.
Should be emphasised that the Ukrainians are putting up an absolutely heroic effort. Lots of small scale (urban) ambushes, often completely stopping any attempted russian advance. Dozens of succesful assassinations on top Russian battlefield leadership (who are also much closer to the front than they should be because comms keep being sabotaged). They're making fantastic use of all the weaponry provided by the west, but seem to thus far avoid large scale troop movements and engagements (indicating they're numerically/materially still outgunned, but the defence in depth is also a smart use of resources). There's currently an attempted assault to retake Kherson, but it remains to be seen if this will actually be possible.
It isn't reported on much, but the Ukrainians are also suffering terrible losses - in numbers probably comparable to the Russians. Despite their efforts, there's also a lot of amateurs in the field on their side. Anecdotally, the worst I've seen shared is a group of 20 infantry being vaporised by an enemy tank at near point blank range. They failed to recognise that they were being approached by Russian cavalry (while looking directly at them) and didn't at all take any precautions. Terrible way to go. There's more stories of idiots at the front lighting cigarettes at night and being hit by tank shells as a result. Ukrainians also seem unable to effectively coordinate artillery support with their ground forces at the front.
So what does it all mean for the future? Couple thoughts:
Ukraine has already made clear that it demands a return to the borders from pre- feb 24th. Putin has reportedly lost interest in a diplomatic solution (if he had any in the first place) and, frankly, he will probably hold on to his stated strategic goals. It depends on what spin he will use to declare victory, at the very least he'll want to claim donetsk/luhansk, mariupol, kherson and the bridge to Crimea. He hasn't completed all these goals yet, much less secured them. Seeing as the Ukrainians will probably also find it very difficult to mount assaults against the Russian positions, it's probable the current conflict will freeze while both sides regroup and replenish their losses. The russians still should have plenty forces in reserve to reinforce all deployed units. Conversely, the longer this takes, the more Ukrainian conscripts will be fielded and the more western weaponry will appear in theatre. It's entirely possible there will be phases of bloody assaults for the coming months, if not the entire coming year.
Tomorrow will also be a very important moment as it's Russia's V-day. Putin will use this moment to comment on the 'special military operation' in Ukraine. It's unknown at this time what he'll say/announce. Plenty speculation abound though - the ukrainians think he'll formally declare war and announce a draft. I think that's unlikely, but expecting the worst has made for accurate guesses so far.
Just a thought, but I think ultimately Putin might've fallen 'victim' to the state he created himself. Modernising Russia's military was a top priority for him during his entire presidency. The V-day military parade has only been made into an annual event since 2008, to showcase the newest innovations. But having also created a state controlled through corruption and oligarchy, and by surrounding himself only with loyalists, the decades of investment into the armed forces seemed to have amounted to little more than contracts awarded to his own oligarch friends for the production of flashy new weaponry while none of it contributed to an actual shoring up of the cold-war era army.
Russia now has a T-14 they still haven't produced after showcasing it 8 years ago, a stealth fighter that's unaffordable, new nuclear weapons, yet the actual armed forces are clearly marred by lacking education and training, equipment, severe logistical issues and so on. I guess that if you systematically eliminate integrity and critical thought from your state apparatus, an attempted modernisation of your armed forces, too, can only end up being a corrupt mess. He probably didn't even know, considering all the yes-men that surrounded him. I'm sure he was presented a very rosy picture of affairs.