Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine isn’t going according to his script, says The Wall Street Journal, and for that, “the world owes a great debt to the heroic people of that besieged country”. Just last week The New York Times ran an opinion piece headlined “The Comedian-Turned-President Is Seriously in Over His Head”. It’s just the reverse. Volodymyr Zelensky, who once played a fictional president on TV, has proved himself to be “the man for the moment” as he rallies his country and the world to resist the invasion. When the US offered to evacuate him from Kyiv to escape assassination, Zelensky responded with a “line for the ages” that embodied his stubborn spirit: “I need ammunition, not a ride.”
It is the Ukrainian president’s tenacious appeal to “Europe’s principles” which has persuaded the continent’s leaders that “Ukraine’s fight is also theirs”. Zelensky has savvily used TV and social media to boost images of Ukrainian civilians preparing to defend their cities. “Men with desk jobs are grabbing rifles, and teachers are making Molotov cocktails.” This brave resistance has inspired Europe and the US to finally send some serious kit. The US is providing $350m more in military aid, and Joe Biden is asking Congress for another $6.4bn for “humanitarian and military assistance”. With their astonishing show of defiance, Zelensky and his countrymen have shown they deserve all the support we can provide to “raise the costs of war” for Putin.