The Federalist: 'Here is where NATO surprises everyone. The alliance decides to set up a limited no-fly zone around the Ukrainian city of Lviv to protect innocent civilians and refugees that are trapped and have nowhere to go. Russia is warned: NATO is not intervening in the conflict, but will ensure that its planes and the airspace around Lviv are protected. NATO does make clear its jets will be in the skies above Ukraine, but will not operate from Ukrainian territory.
'In Moscow, Putin now gets a sense that NATO is destined to intervene on Ukraine’s side. Russia fears NATO will use this protected corridor as a base of operations to send ever more sophisticated weapons. And with its economy now in a tailspin due to sanctions, Putin feels the walls closing in him. Before NATO can impose its no-fly zone, Putin orders strikes on any remaining airfields and military assets around Lviv.
'But here is where Putin miscalculates and sets the stage for a NATO-Russia war. Putin orders another massive cyber attack on the Baltic states’ military infrastructure, thinking that NATO will use the Baltics to stage an invasion of Russia.
'This ends up being the last straw for NATO, which then decides direct intervention in Ukraine is necessary to push back against Russian aggression. Before even an announcement is made, Russian intelligence sees missile and troop movements that indicate an impending NATO attack and decide to strike first — with tactical nuclear weapons. NATO decides to respond in kind.
'Russia then targets European cities with nuclear weapons, with NATO and America also responding in kind. What is left is nothing short of an apocalypse, with what we estimate is billion people dead.
'If Russia and NATO do become involved in direct conflict, Putin knows that in a conventional fight his regime would be defeated. That means Russia will choose nuclear war.
(In fairness, why would you surrender to a bunch of godless soy boys who can't agree on the correct number of genders?)