In the face of Vladimir Putin’s cruelty, Nato must consider taking much tougher options
Russia’s missile attack on Kramatorsk railway station is an act of unforgivable barbarism. How many more such atrocities must occur before western leaders admit their Ukraine strategy is failing? How many more children must die before Nato stops making excuses for inaction? How much longer before Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Olaf Scholz and the rest face up to what seems an inescapable choice: either intervene directly – or lose?
These are uncomfortable, frightening questions. But with every missile that explodes, with every illegal cluster bomb and artillery shell, with every war crime committed, they become harder to duck. Sanctions on Russia and arms for Ukraine are celebrated by western governments as an unprecedented, unifying success. They tell each other what a good job they’re doing. But it’s not working. Vladimir Putin has been branded a war criminal and pariah. His funds have been frozen, his cronies penalised. Moscow’s strategic objectives have not been met, his discredited army is a vicious rabble, his war aims are in ruins, just like Mariupol and Kharkiv. His country faces incalculable long-term economic and reputational damage.