Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

I am not even going to pretend to know what to make of this development.

President Vladimir Putin dramatically escalated East-West tensions by ordering Russian nuclear forces put on high alert Sunday, while Ukraine's embattled leader agreed to talks with Moscow as Putin's troops and tanks drove deeper into the country.

Putin cited “aggressive statements” by NATO in issuing a directive to increase the readiness of his country's nuclear weapons — a step that raised fears that the invasion of Ukraine could boil over into nuclear war, whether by design or mistake.

Is this Cold War era brinkmanship taken to the next level?

What is driving these escalations? Zelenskyy has already agreed to talks, and while it's just a guess on my part, I figure he'd be willing to accept neutral status.

None of this seems necessary. On either side.