2:48 PM, May 12, 2023
The Russians are retreating from Bakhmut. Russian soldiers are surrendering in great numbers as well, probably knowing they'll have a better chance at survival as a POW than as a combatant.
The Russian Black Sea Fleet is firing extremely expensive weapons they'd previously been saving for a conflict with NATO, for a one in ten chance of striking a random location in Ukraine, and a nine in ten chance of being intercepted by Ukrainian air defense.
The Russians are of divided purpose, low morale, and critically low supplies and materiel, while the Ukrainians get stronger every day. The UK just provided long-range weapons to Ukraine, after the US hemmed and hawed and shuffled their feet about it for almost a year. This means that the Ukrainians just dramatically INCREASED their ability to devastate Russian logistics, command, and supplies.
Ukraine has yet to start using the sophisticated vehicles and equipment they've been massing in the east for their large-scale counteroffensive, and has even said the counteroffensive will likely still take several weeks or even months to begin. But it seems that their enemy is disintegrating before their eyes, without an offensive even taking place.
Russia no longer has any position of power from which they may engage in negotiations. They are unequivocally losing, and outside the context of this war, Russia is ruined. No nation ever need fear them, as they were never close to as powerful as they were once believed to be, to say nothing of the complete hollowing their military has suffered as they've broken like waves against the people of Ukraine and the resolve of the West. The Russian war machine has been set back by over a century, as they desperately and foolishly poured every resource they possibly could into the impossible goal of the conquest of Ukraine.
Russia is finished. All that follows in the war is just cleanup.