Russia is getting ready for a possible NATO intervention
There are a few hints which support this thesis.
From Kremlin perspective NATO putting boots on the ground in Ukraine is a real threat to Russia. At this point, the chances for such an outcome are slim if you look at it from the Western side, but it doesn't matter. The important thing is what Russia thinks. From their perspective, the West is escalating, and the current path leads straight to direct involvement. This, in turn, leads to a serious problem for Russia, as it has to prepare for it.
What is Russia doing to be prepared for it?
In April last year (if memory serves) Russia sent home a whole draft of freshly trained soldiers. Think about it. They could be used in SMO, they had all the training they needed and would be much better than reservists who have already forgotten many things and had to be retrained. There were, of course, legal reasons but one way or the other, they have a pool of tens of thousands of soldiers that they can use. To make things even more interesting, they have not stopped this process at all. They are training another wave of recruits according to their normal military training scheme. In a year they will double their pool of well-trained men.
Then there is the 300k mobilization wave. This pool of men wasn't used to a full extent on the battlefield. Sure. Some units were replenished, and some holes were refilled, but you can not say that they have used that force. They are ready and waiting. Some say that they will be used for a big offensive, but that might not be the case, at least not for now.
Russia also keeps in reserve the forces of Belarus and their forces gathered there. This is another fist that can be used, when the time comes, and there is the equipment saga.
Russia is sending pretty old equipment to fight in Ukraine. Western analysts overhyped by the "Russia is weak" narrative seem to overlook the simple fact that this old equipment does the job. You don't need a sophisticated tank that can engage a target at night from 4000 m when the task at hand is to drive close to a trench and shoot towards it from 200 or 300 meters or even closer. Older equipment is sufficient for those tasks. The same goes for fighting in urban areas. You need to shoot a lot of shells from close distances to destroy strongholds and that's it.
Modern armament is also present on the battlefield, but at this point, it seems that Russia is holding it back and that the production of new equipment will be, at least in some part, used to prepare a backup force for a possible NATO intervention.
As usual, I can be wrong, but things tend to look like this from my perspective. After listening to more than 400 days of Russia being weak, out of missiles, and fighting with human wave tactics narrative one has to start to think that there must be something more to it.
If you find my work valuable here are some ways to support me. You can also subscribe here.