Russia is Increasingly Isolated Front and Back

It has taken its time, but NATO is finally pulling together as it had not done before. All of its air space is now closed to Russian traffic. In acts of solidarity the Dutch and the Germans are also sending 200 and 500 anti-aircraft stinger missiles respectively to bolster Ukrainian resistance. The Italians have given way on cutting Russia off from the international payments system (SWIFT); that leaves the Germans, Russia’s best trading partners in Europe, holding out – but for how long?

Meanwhile, an awkward question has arisen for Putin: how many of the former Soviet republics stand side by side with the Russians? In Kazakhstan the invasion of Ukraine has stirred unrest that it took Russian troops to suppress not long ago, so its leaders are not anxious to stand four square with Putin on this one. At the UN China abstained rather than vote against the Americans condemning Russia at the Security Council. It did so along with India, which does not seem to mind one Power attacking another; perhaps if it has another major collision with China, India might come to regret this cynical stance.

This afternoon the websites of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Defence and the Kremlin had been knocked out by person or persons unknown. Having their international football fixtures cancelled certainly sends a message to Russian youth. Being removed from the Eurovision song contest, though, is not exactly a great blow; indeed, some in Britain always hoped to be put in that position so that it could avoid the pleasure of being awarded “nuls points“.

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В Казахстане ширится общественная поддержка Украины в конфликте с Россией: активисты собирают гуманитарную помощь, а политики — пока полунамеками — дают понять, что этот конфликт у них вызывает крайне неуютные ощущения.