Putin’s restraint in the face of massive western military aid to Ukraine has been remarkable but his forbearance may not be boundless

I see the point about escalation, but I wonder how seriously Russia takes it. Unless the West sends troops with their national badges and flags, Russia can ignore it. There may be a political and ideological function in ‘allowing’ the West to arm Ukraine (i.e. not being provoked into attacking an imperial core state directly).

For as long as this war goes on, Russia is simply embarrassing NATO. Western press tends not to show this embarrassment, although some stories come through the cracks. But in the rest of the world? It’s emboldening countries to break away from the Anglo-European empire.

That empire is aware of the danger it’s in. But it only knows how to double down. The contradictions of capital won’t let it do anything else even as they watch sanctions have the opposite effect as intended.

Russian analysts will know that this is a dangerous beast, which will at some point lash out to save itself (which could mean nuclear war – and we’ve seen some taste for it already). So Russia is likely to be ‘content’ with letting the conventional war continue, without Russia itself escalating things, however much it’s provoked.

Fairly sure our government is already ignoring a great deal, despite the fiery speeches.

☆ Yσɠƚԋσʂ ☆

I also get the impression that the status quo is currently working in Russian favour. Russia has the dominance on the battlefield, and the war is costing the west far more than it is costing Russia. The west is currently propping up the entire Ukrainian economy, and supplying all the weapons, ammo, and any other supplies needed to keep Ukrainian army functioning. This is costing over a billion a month every month. These are just the direct costs of keeping the war going. There are also secondary economic effects resulting from the trade war and the need to allocate increasing amounts of existing resources towards the military.

On top of that, Russia does weekly strikes across Ukraine that result in millions of dollars of damage. It’s much easier for Russia to destroy Ukrainian infrastructure and supplies than for the west to rebuild them creating further asymmetry in the cost of waging this war.

On the other hand, Russian economy is strengthening while European economies are starting to run into problems. As a Belgian MEP recently quipped the effect of sanctions on Russia ‘less than 0’.

Given all that, I imagine that Russia is perfectly happy with the west slowly depleting its arsenal in Ukraine because the west lacks the industrial base to replace what is lost. The war of attrition favours Russia in the long term because Russia has a stronger military industrial base.

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