Russia's troops on Ukraine’s borders are poised for invasion, according to NATO.

With over 100,000 troops on the Russian side, and with more exercises planned in Belarus, the means to mount an incursion appear to be in place. Russia denies it has any intention to start a war.

Dire warnings have been given to Russia about the economic cost of invading.

Increased military hardware supplies from NATO countries mean that, in the absence of Western troops being sent, Ukrainians would be better armed - even if overrun - to exact a higher toll on any invasion force.

Despite the international tensions, the Ukrainians appear less worried. They have already experienced invasion and annexation in 2014, while an ongoing conflict in the Donbas region has rumbled on since then. This is normal life, albeit with the volume turned up.

Some informed analysts within Ukraine think the threat of invasion - at least a wide-ranging one - is not imminent.

Analysts at the Kyiv-based Center of Defense Strategies (CDS) say that while the current situation is "complex and dynamic", they believe "there are not enough Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders and no fully formed military groups needed to conduct a strategic offensive against Ukraine".

While there are tens of thousands of troops on the border at the moment, by the CDS analysis, hundreds of thousands more would be needed.

They say the numbers have stayed roughly the same since April and that the operational support further back from the forward positions is not in evidence.

Invasion would also mean combat. Combat means wounded troops. Wounded troops require hospitals. So where are the Russian military medical facilities?

The CDS believes the lack of apparent preparation on this front is encouraging.

"One of the indicators of Russia’s preparation for an attack is the number of mobile hospitals being deployed, and the speed of staffing medical units. At present, there is no evidence of the readiness of medical infrastructure to participate in a possible operation by the Russian armed forces," the analysts say.

That is not to say the Russian army could not deploy further resources in the region, but as of earlier this week, they had not put in place what is required.

Russian Iskander missile launchers during combat readiness exercises

Whatever about invading territory, holding it is a different matter. Russian troops' previous experience of counterinsurgency as part of the Soviet army was not a happy one.

The loss of over 13,000 troops in the decade-long occupation of Afghanistan is nearly four times the number lost by NATO during its 20 years there.

US weaponry - which equipped the mujahideen then - would also be in abundant supply for Ukrainians now.

Russia has also seen up-close in Syria where it supports the Assad regime what was required to turn the tide on an insurgency there. Massive aerial bombardment, huge civilian casualties, significant troop losses and the displacement of huge portions of the population.

Closer to home, two long wars fought against insurgents in Chechnya in the 1990s and 2000's saw 10,000 Russian military casualties by official estimates. Other estimates say 40,000. Estimates of civilian deaths range from 40-75,000.

It would be difficult to predict how any conflict might unfold.

'We have already repeatedly stated that our country does not intend to attack anyone'

"No plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the main enemy forces," as Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke put it, updated by Mike Tyson to "Everybody has plans until they get hit for the first time".

The CDS analysis concurs: "Overall, a large-scale offensive operation with an attempt to hold large occupied territories is a gamble that has no chance of a positive outcome for Russia. It is impossible to calculate the course of such an operation, and when implemented, it will quickly move to an uncontrollable point."

Due to their experience since 2014, Russian statements may not be the most trusted source for Ukrainians, but Moscow has denied any invasion plans.

"We have already repeatedly stated that our country does not intend to attack anyone. We consider even the thought of a war between our people to be unacceptable," said Alexei Zaitsev, a spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry said today.

Talks earlier this week in Paris between Russian, German, Ukrainian and French officials have also given grounds for optimism in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared himself pleased with progress at finding a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

Mr Zelensky "positively assesses the fact of the meeting, its constructive nature, as well as the intention to continue meaningful negotiations in two weeks in Berlin," his press service said in a statement.