Not wanting to add to any panic simply an observation or two.And how popular is any Ukraine action going to be is massive number of bodies start coming home. Putin is already having popularity problems.
1 It is a very perverse yet practical step to take. Russians think different than the west.
2 It could be a Stunt to stress Russia’s commitment level in opposing NATO advances (PR). Or a copywriter who just sees a sensational story.
I still maintain Russians view Ukraine not just as their back yard. Ukraine has been a geographical buffer zone for Russia for centuries Because both of the geography and the climate. Even with modern armies we still have to take the seasonal weather into consideration.
As well it being part of the USSR for 60yr.
There is a lot of bad blood on the Russian side regarding the alleged promise that NATO would not expand into the Eastern European countries.
That’s a real thing, even Gorbachev speaks of it.