Logistical problems and political fatigue in Europe could hamstring Kiev’s counteroffensive, while Russia’s risks involve the potentially destabilizing consequences of the Defense Ministry-Wagner Group rivalry continuing, independently existing defensive difficulties along the Line of Contact, and a reluctance to escalate.
1. Good summary of the swirl of uncertainty about the proxy war.
2. General comment on all your posts: You are a good writer who covers a lot of area. I have been spending time on Wikipedia and Apple Maps learning about places I barely knew existed until you wrote about them.
"...thus inexplicably keeping itself on the strategic defensive."
'China' is the most convincing explanation I can think of. I feel it's Putin's nature to err on the side of caution, but he must be surrounded by those who are not so inclined. The only thing I can think of that might be significant enough a counterbalance to overwhelm what must be inordinate pressure for him to take the initiative and kick some ass is the Chinese inclination to wait and see. Perhaps, if the Indians were more decisively in favour of some decisive ass kicking, or some other such significant factor weighed into the equation, things could start moving. I can't help seeing a little Chinaman sitting on Putin's shoulder saying, 'You wait, no kill, just wait,' which Putin, by his intrinsic nature, is inclined to agree with.
I wish I knew more of the details about how hostilities in Chechnya were concluded. I should think there must be a parallel to the current situation in there somewhere. The stakes were, seemingly, quite different (but perhaps not so much so as might appear at first glance) but I should think a lot of the principles, and inclination to (re)act were similar and could be helpful in drawing some revealing parallels.