>>336254>So at this point I'm wondering, WHY would Russia choose to invade Ukraine at this time
Because they could. Biden is a weakling, and America just lost a war. America and NATO have absolutely zero will to enter a hot war with Russia, especially not on Biden's orders, so the consequences are purely economic.>when they surely must have anticipated the international response?
It's because they anticipated the response that they did it. Since they could predict with certainty that it would be economic, the sanctions were priced into the decision.>What benefit could annexation of Ukraine possibly provide for them
Prevention of a potential NATO adversary on their border.
Also, Putin is still buttfrustrated about the collapse of the Soviet union, particularly the collapse of Ukraine, which he considers to be part of Russia. He wants it back as a token of pride, and for the same geopolitical reasons that China wants Taiwan.>severe sanctions
They won't last forever. Also, apparently this is more important than money.>diplomatic penalties?
Are a joke.
Even if Germany arms itself, they won't attack Russia. The UN can't do shit so long as Russia is a permanent member of the security council.>Russia is/was a massive exporter of natural gas to the EU and their economy seemed fine before this war
And they'll continue to be, if the EU doesn't want to freeze next winter and still fulfill all of the steep climate change policies they just promised.>The cost benefit analysis does not add up.
You're thinking of this from the perspective of an American. Putin has wanted this for years, since the collapse of the soviet union. His country isn't exactly democratic, so he really can't be bothered by a sudden, temporary drop in quality of life for his citizens. Despite the changing times, he's still a diehard soviet-style communist, and so he has nostalgic ambitions that he's willing to pay just about any price for. He's getting old, and he's concerned about his legacy and what Russia will look like after he's gone. He always wanted to restore the Russian empire to its former glory, so he's doing it now.
That aside, this retarded ambiguity and goalpost moving about Ukraine joining NATO has served to provoke Russia. If NATO wanted Ukraine, they should have let them join decades ago, or simply told them to piss of, and not force them to kiss western ass for years while continuing to provoke Russia, because as far as Russia is concerned Ukraine "potentially" joining NATO is nearly as big of a security risk as them actually joining.>It's like Russia is purposefully committing suicide right now.
It wouldn't be the first time Russia has done that. Again, consider this from the perspective of an ex-soviet.
The Russians will survive, because those sanctions will slowly but surely be rolled-back. That was all priced into the decision.>>336256
Also this. The warm water ports are especially sexy, because if Ukraine is actually annexed into Russia, Russia would finnally be able to trade by sea and easily export to the rest of the world.