A couple of weeks ago, we noted that Putin's rather nuanced nuclear-tinged rhetoric at the time of his 'partial mobilisation' was a can-kicking exercise that would rebound on him just a short while down the road ("October, in fact"), when big new Ukrainian successes would put him under pressure to respond in some dramatic fashion. The Russian pro-war camp believe they have heard the words "nuclear" and "not bluffing" in the same sentence, so they'd expect him to deliver.
Later, we suggested that it's even worse for him than that, because having 'annexed' 4 new Ukrainian oblasts into the bosom of Mother Russia, essentially placing them in the same category as Crimea, what had heretofore been de facto a pass granted him by the rest of the world on the 2014 Crimean seizure, was in danger of being de facto revoked - by virtue of Crimea being now in just the same category as the other 4, i.e. under relentless counterattack from Ukraine, with no sign of Putin reacting to any of those attacks in a manner consistent with what the pro-war faction would consider 'appropriate'.
Blunder upon strategic blunder. It's quite extraordinary that he still has any apologists outside of a Moscow TV studio whatsoever.
Since that post, incidentally, and in rather stark contrast, the Ukrainians have been conducting a multi-front campaign of striking operational excellence with superbly calibrated strategies, each one clearly devised for the specifics of the front in question (at least four can be clearly identified).
And now. With the Crimea bridge having been spectacularly attacked this morning ... what does he do next? The foreseen moment of maximum danger is here. FWIW (and I stand to have egg - or worse - on my face within hours), I still think the nuclear rhetoric was a bluff. BUT we may be pretty sure there will be at very least a big retaliatory attack of a non-nuclear nature.
Or - given the quite staggering ineptitude of Russia's ability to execute anything half-competently - an attempt at such. Given the sheer difficulty this 'war machine' faces when essaying anything of a strictly military nature, I greatly fear this means it will be multiple attacks on soft Ukrainian targets. We probably don't have long to be speculating.