Russia has no good moves to make.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin is in zugzwang -- the state of play in a chess game where you have to make a move, but none of the moves you can make are good. The Ukrainian counteroffensive has put him on the back foot. Doing nothing, he seems destined to lose slowly.
On September 20 and 21, the Russian government made several moves -- none of them solving a fundamental imbalance: Ukraine has an existential threat to fight for, but Putin's rhetoric isn't enough to motivate the vast majority of the Russian population.
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