wakeup call on stakes in Ukraine


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A year after his forces destroyed 90% of Mariupol, flattening a children’s hospital and a theater serving as a civilian shelter, and driving away at least 70% of the population, Vladimir Putin flew into the once-gorgeous Ukrainian city in the middle of the night for a brief propaganda tour.

That’s one way to answer UN condemnation as a war criminal and an International Criminal Court arrest warrant for the same.

But this was more than just a middle finger to all the West’s advocates of “soft power” as the way to fight evil.

First, it was a ploy for Russian public opinion, which is quietly turning against Putin’s “special military operation” to “de-Nazify” Ukraine. Having cost more Russian lives than the USSR’s Afghanistan debacle did, it’s now into its second year when it was supposed to be over in a week or so.

Second, it was a sign of defiance to Western leaders hoping they’ll somehow get Putin to agree to end the war. The thugocrat is going to keep everything he’s taken so far, went the message; you’ll have to make Kyiv accept that if you want the killing and destruction to stop.

Yet Ukraine remains defiant: “The criminal always returns to the crime scene,” an aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskywrote on Twitter.

The West should answer by upping its support for the invaded nation, not that it doesn’t already have ample reason to do so.

A rapist and mass murderer just did a victory dance on the corpses of his victims. Everyone hemming and hawing about helping to fight this horror needs to take that as a wakeup call.

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