As I type this, it is a little after 2 PM Moscow Time. As I understand it, at 3 PM Moscow Time, Russia becomes larger with the formal addition of 4 republics from former Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
At that moment, any attacks on those 4 republics become an attack on Russia itself. And no, it does not matter at all if anyone in The West recognizes this addition or not. For purposes of Russian Military Response, all that matters is that Russia believes it.
Russia has already “mobilized” some of the Regular Army reserves. IMHO these will be used to reinforce and enforce the new Russian Border. Rump Ukraine will, of course, not accept this and will attack. At that point, the Special Military Operation is over and Ukraine is toast.
The USA (perhaps with help from Poland or perhaps using Ukrainian proxies, but most likely just using their own troops) is THE most likely party to have blown up Nordstream I and II pipelines. A direct attack on a Russian asset. It is quite possible and reasonable for Russia to declare that an act of war by NATO on Russia. I think they will instead just wait for a suitable moment and do something like blow up the pipelines from Norway to the EU; or USA underwater communications cables to Europe.
It is now an open “secret” that NATO is conducting a clandestine war on Russia. Russia knows this. NATO knows this. The EU knows this. The USA knows this. The UK knows this. Heck, even I know this.
So what’s next?
Well, Italy just elected an anti-Globalist Italy First government. Germany had people protesting in the streets about the damage energy sanctions where having on their lives and livelihoods. (And more States too…) Germany & Italy were talking about maybe getting back to using Russian Gas so as not to have complete economic collapse, cold citizens, and worse. With NS-1 and NS-2 both blown up, that’s off the table. The EU is already shutting down industries. Aluminum Smelting is largely closed. Farm fertilizer production is down about 70% (as it depends strongly on natural gas. Many other industries too. With no Russian gas: Germany is shutting down for the winter (and perhaps a lot longer).
Germany is the financial spark plug that keeps the EU running. No industry means no money means no EU Subsidy means the PIIGS collapse as they must recognize they are broke. (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain) which means it is highly likely the EU collapses and reduces to France and some hangers on. Possibly Germany too if the food riots and political turmoil don’t break it.
Cold Hungry people revolt. Europe is about to become very cold, very hungry, and very poor. Things will change.
No, the USA can’t fix this. Available LNG transport and port facilities are already maxed out. Having given the OK, to militaries around the world, to sabotage undersea gas pipelines (via existence proof), all the other EU / USA energy delivery systems are now “fair game” to Russia. Watch for a string of “Unfortunate Accidents”…
Back At Rump Ukraine:
The Ukrainians have burned through all the prior Soviet Union equipment and ammunition of NATO. NATO has also depleted their stockpiles of all sorts of material & ammo to an alarming degree via shipping it to Ukraine to be blown up. There’s not a lot of “extra” left in the cupboards.
Worse, things like HIMARS are not in stock. IF you want more, you place an order to start building them. Figure a year or two to delivery. A Germany that can’t make steel or aluminum (or even keep the soup pot from freezing) is not going to be able to make a lot of new Tiger Tanks for shipment to Ukraine either. Our NATO Proxy War with Russia has already resulted in NATO losing on logistics / material while Russia has only now started to actually mobilize; with an intact industry base and all the energy supplies it could possibly use.
At this point, from a Russian POV, I can see little reason for them to not just take all of Ukraine. Until now, they were willing to just take the Ethnic Russian areas, then end the war and ship gas via NS-1 & 2 to Germany. Now they are subject to Ukrainian blackmail for gas transit and have no NS-1 & 2. The “obvious” answer is to just take all of Ukraine and have a land pipeline that transits through Russia (and the “former” Ukraine) where it can be defended.
But “we will see”.
What is clear is that in just a few minutes, the world changes. After that, things will get very dicey and very bad; but what will be the eventual end game remains unclear. It WILL have a very diminished Europe in it. And a much stronger Russia & China. Good luck with that. IF we are very lucky, this collapse of the EU / Europe and to some extent the UK (especially the currency) will clip the ambitions of the WEFies and Globalists as their world blows up. But that is just a hope.