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Moscow would find itself bogged down in hostile terrain — seizing territory is easier than holding and pacifying it — and facing renewed Western sanctions.
If anything would finally convince Washington to send Ukraine lethal weapons, especially aircraft- and tank-killing missiles, it would be such an attack. There is little evidence they are planning any major offensive.
If anything, they are responding to Ukraine’s growing capabilities.
As Michael Kofman of the Wilson Center puts it, Moscow "likely fears a ‘Croatia scenario’ whereby Ukraine cordons off the separatist republics and then builds up an army large enough to wipe them out in a few years." A few years — that gives us a sense of how Moscow is now coming to look at the war in the Donbas.
As well as training, the US has been providing all kinds of equipment short of weapons, from body armor and night-vision goggles to Humvees.
In total, Washington has provided more than $117.5 million in direct aid to Ukraine, and still reserves the option to send weapons such as the lethal Javelin anti-tank missile if Moscow escalates.
To be clear, this is not an army that could go on the offensive against the Russians.