Open the gate.. welcome to this dimension..
Well.. that 'ratchets things up'..
'appeasement' of Putin isn't palatable, but I'm not sure aggravating him is very sensible either..
Currently a negotiated (ceasefire) settlement based on eastern Ukrainian border concessions might have been possible, but that gets much less likely IMO if the EU effectively signals a 'sandwich squeeze' on Transnistria between 'the new candidate EU states' of Ukraine and Moldova.
Given we don't actually know anything (what's reported in the press is largely the propaganda each side wants us to hear) it's a little hard to guess at strategy - but it's looking like whilst Russia is having trouble 'sustaining war', the EU has decided (I'm sure with the US's blessing) to, signal resolve, and put a 'stake in the ground' on EU enlargement, to convince Putin he won't get anything he wants by continuing the Russian offensive..
Strategically it's looking like the whole thing has 'back-fired' for Putin. It was a reasonable war gambit to take by Russia on a historical basis (an invasion to gain ground and treasure) given the response to its Crimea actions in 2014, and the 'apparent weakness' of US/EU subsequently..
But it's achieved what the western world could probably not have achieved alone - Putin has created conditions for improved solidarity within NATO and brought states previously languishing on defence strategy and spending (Germany, Sweden and Finland at a minimum) 'back to reality', whilst providing even more resolve for NATO as a whole.
The dangers remain real however, because as usual with war, the only mantra can be 'expect the unexpected'..
buggered if i know 😐
Brussels backs Ukraine and Moldova as candidates for EU membership