An increasing number of Ukrainians have begun preparing for the worst as the West sounds the alarm over a possible full-scale invasion by Russian forces.
The Russian regime has a long history of denying or threatening to deny natural gas in winter to countries as leverage to advance the Kremlin's geopolitical goals.
Following the 'successful' mission of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) in Kazakhstan, the Kremlin will toughen its position toward the Central Asian state, say observers.
Making Kazakhstan look like a weakling whose preservation depends on Russia works to Moscow's advantage, and Putin will use this influence to further undermine the country's sovereignty.
Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenka told military officials to start the drills 'so nobody can accuse us of having massed troops all of a sudden and of being almost ready to go to war'.
The Kremlin knows the CSTO's value in terms of strengthening its control over former Soviet republics, since the help of the CSTO -- or rather Russian armed forces -- requires loyalty in exchange.
As the dust settles in Kazakhstan and CSTO troops begin withdrawing, Uzbeks are expressing alarm over what the deployment means for the region's sovereignty.
History suggests the CSTO 'peacekeeping forces' might stay longer than desired as Vladimir Putin detests nearby unrest that might give Russians ideas.
Central Asian governments must integrate and formulate a common foreign policy in order to protect their states from Kremlin interference, analysts say.
In Palmyra, Wagner Group mercenaries, phosphate miners and oil and gas field workers are flooding in to pursue influence and profit, creating a 'totally Russian area'.