>>384>Ukraine has been begging to join NATO for 20 years
That is true but incomplete, after the regime change operation the US did in 2014, the CIA started working with the Bandera-Azov axis to low key integrate parts of the Ukrainian military into NATO. Azov social media accounts were bragging about US handlers training them to NATO standards. So at least one of the contingencies was to integrate Ukraine into NATO on an informal basis and then wait for a political opportunity to make it official.
Obviously that was the path not taken, Ukraine massed up troops in the Donbass region and started heavy shelling of the DPL and LPL regions. 2 days later the Russian military rolled in and crushed that. We can't be certain whether this was bait to escalate the war or a attempt of taking over the DPL and LPL. There is a RAND corporation thinktank startegic paper that outlined the idea that a war between Russia and Ukraine in combination with US led sanction might drain the Russian military and destabilize the Russian economy (which as we now know was wrong). So maybe they did a dual strategy. >>434>Ukraine will be the death of the Russian Federation, just like Afghanistan was for the USSR.
According to Pentagon estimations Russia lost about 2000 to 4000 troops out of 180.000 troops that went into Ukraine.
According to the Ukrainian defense ministry, Ukraine is loosing about 1000 troops a day. (Loss = dead or injured badly enough that they can't fight). The sanctions war is crashing the European economy and it's causing a massive economic depression in the US. It's also weakening the US controlled global financial system as the BRICS countries are now building alternatives to circumvent sanctions. It has weakened the western diplomatic ties with India and soon all the countries that face famine because they can't import fertilizer from Russia and Belarus. Russia and China have improved their relations and have repaired the damage since the days of the Sino-Soviet split. The Russian economy took a mild hit from the sanctions but it didn't falter. The Rubel exchange value even strengthened slightly compared to before. Unemployment in Russia has gone down and the Western goods embargo didn't hurt them much because they can mostly substitute with Chinese goods.
If You still have illusions about war of attrition against Russia, read the attached pdf from a British Think tank that admits that the western industrial base is too atrophied to do industrial warfare.