The war continues to rage. Russia has made it clear that it is not seeking an early diplomatic solution. Indeed quite the reverse. Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister, has said it is “in essence” at war with Nato following deliveries of western weapons to Ukraine, which it views as legitimate targets. Nato, he says, is engaging in the conflict “through a proxy and is arming that proxy”.
Given Russia’s hardened line and Ukraine’s stout, heroic and effective defence, we must assume that this conflict will therefore continue for some time. This is a dreadful prospect and we can hope against hope this will not be the case.
But the western alliance must be prepared for the consequences of months of fighting and destruction. Those consequences are already being felt, with the burden of higher global food and energy prices falling on people, and nations, least able to cope. There are immediate effects, ranging from the rationing of cooking oil in British supermarkets to the soaring price of fertiliser worldwide. But these may be a foretaste of something much worse: a global famine.