If you want to delve into greater depth Timothy Snyder's The Road to Unfreedom is fucking fantastic and very thoroughly sourced.
It basically reads as a history of Russia from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the present and the narrative shifts to Europe and the U.S. as Russian strategic interests do. I think one of the best things that it does is examine the breakdown of time (as in our social perception of it) and the death of history in the public consciousness and how that contributes to the rise of authoritarianism.
The answer to this question can be found in a really fantastic new book called "The Road To Unfreedom". It explains Putin's motivations for wanting to destroy western democracies. It was written by Timothy Snyder, a renowned Yale historian with incredibly deep knowledge of Russian history and politics.
The Road To Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America
I feel like the person you are responding to is a bit of a kook, but to answer your question he has failed, you just need to read more about him.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine failed, because Ukraine still exists. The idea that they were looking to claim the warm water port of Sevastopol is farcical because the Russian fleet had basing rights until 2042. The reason why Russia is embarking on a propaganda campaign to support the alt-right in the U.S. and the E.U. is precisely because their offensive in Ukraine failed and the threat of crippling sanctions from the allies of the U.S. and the E.U. member states is the only thing that prevents Russia from being able to annex all of Ukraine.
Those communities have been telling us that the world is in extreme danger, it's just that major media outlets are falling for Trump's controversy and coverage of the outrage of the day draws more views than a nuanced discussion of how the Russian political structure, the crisis of the absence of succession principle in the Russian Federation, Russia's dependence on oil exports, Putin needing to maintain a perpetual state of crisis in order to maintain his popularity and legitimacy, and the threat of the Russian people seeing (relatively) functional democratic systems in the west as a potential alternative to the Oligarchy led to the current state of affairs and where we might be headed.
If you take a look at the history of the modern world, especially the history of how modern democracies fall to Authoritarians, and compare it to the state of affairs in the U.S. things look very grim. If you take a look at American history and compare those moments where the American Republic managed to prevent the rise of a demagogue, things look very grim. If you juxtapose Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the conditions that enabled Putin's rise to power with the current state of affairs in the U.S. things look very grim.
A lot of this shit does make sense, when you put it together but I have neither the time, patience, or talent for explaining my thoughts to do so as effectively as I would like. Timothy Snyder's book The Road to Unfreedom does a much better job than I ever could at both explaining the rise of authoritarianism in Russia first and than I ever could and is very well sourced. It's done more than any piece of journalism I've read at helping me understand what any of all this Trump, Russia shit means.
I can probably help clear up any questions you might have as all I really did was introduce ideas without delving into them, but I'm really bad at focusing in on one particular thought and fleshing it out because I feel like there is an entire book of material that needs to be presented in order to properly understand why we really should be fucking panicking right now.
I mean, Russia has been purposefully creating more Syrian refugees through their purposefully reckless use of bombs in order to dredge up support for far-right parties who are Euro-skeptic in the hopes that they can destabilize or even dissolve the E.U.. If this isn't an act of war that should unite everyone against the Putin regime, if the invasion of Ukraine wasn't, I don't know what is.