“Gallows humour is everywhere” in Ukraine, says Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic. With more than 100,000 Russian troops amassed on their border, along with armed vehicles, field hospitals and Black Sea battleships, the Ukrainians are preparing to be invaded. When the Ministry of Defence called on women to register with the army, it triggered “a plethora of jokes”. One popular meme depicts a man lying in bed beside his wife, wondering: “When will they get on with it and mobilise her?”
Vladimir Putin certainly seems to think this is a good time to invade. The US is divided and Europe is “exhausted by the pandemic and in need of Russian gas”. Neither is “interested in new military adventures”. And although “alarm bells are ringing” in Washington, the West remains desperate to resolve the situation peacefully. The Ukrainians – quite rightly – view this as “incredibly naive”. Since Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, Americans and Europeans have been more or less “constantly” surprised by Putin’s aggression and territorial ambitions. They need to realise that allowing Russian forces to roll into Ukraine wouldn’t just be a disaster for Ukrainians – it would “reinforce dictators in Moscow, Minsk, and even Beijing”.
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