The conduct of the war has disgraced Russia’s armed forces and demonstrated their multiple weaknesses. It has isolated Russia economically and diplomatically. It has made even the few friends it has in the world nervous about supporting it, not least because it looks as though President Putin has embarked on an unwinnable war.
Ukraine remains an independent state, its president a global figure of Churchillian proportions. In a country full of hero citizens and hero cities, Ukraine is, to the free world, a hero nation. Even now, after being subjected to a bombardment unprecedented in Europe since the Second World War, the band of soldiers in Mariupol remains stubbornly in place. The “special military operation”, which Russia hoped would amount to a lightning annexation of a smaller neighbour, was not supposed to play out like this.