For many years, the Russian military believed that they had a chance to win a conflict with the West, not because they have better technology—they knew that the West always would have better technology—but because the West, and specifically the United States, would never sustain heavy casualties like the Russian Army can sustain, because, to the leadership, the cost of life is different. But in this war, in Ukraine, all the casualties are not by nato or by the American Army but by the Ukrainian Army. So even this cannot be played by the Russian Army. And that is why they think that they picked up a fight with nato in the wrong place.
The thinking is that, look, we are sustaining heavy casualties and suffering a lot, so the goal of occupying the Donbas cannot be the objective of such a war. We need something a bit more ambitious, and some pro-military channels on Telegram have just conducted polls and asked their subscribers, “What do you think? When will the objective for this war be achieved?” And only six per cent of people said that it would be achieved with the “liberation” of the Donbas, while thirty-three per cent said it would be when the whole of Ukraine capitulates unconditionally. People in the military and people close to the military want something much more ambitious than what Putin is saying.
For what it's worth, one thread trying to describe current state of battle.
And a monument: