President Putin is a rational actor. Without that premise, no one can figure out what he will do next.
President Putin's exploits in Georgia in 2008 and Crimea in 2014 demonstrated that he is astute, methodical, and precise in his execution.
President Putin attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics and cozied up to President Xi Jinping. Like Hitler had Stalin, President Putin has Xi. Respectful to his friend, he waited for the Beijing Olympics to end before launching the invasion.
After recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, President Putin launched a so-called peacekeeping mission that morphed into a blitzkrieg in 24 hours. He entered the Donbass region, citing ethnic solidarity, similar to the Third Reich's occupation of German-populated Czechoslovakia.