As Russian tanks move into Donetsk and Luhansk – which Ukrainian frontier is the finishing line no one knows – the West has to ask itself what on Earth it intends to do about it. Sanctions, once agreed, will no doubt have an impact on Russia’s economic development in the years to come. But they will also rebound on us. Oil and gas prices are already at their highest points in years. Putin, moreover, has already priced in the short-term consequences. He has been hoarding cash and spread-betting on future markets. He will also be turning to China’s Xi Jinping, his new best friend, to help him weather the storm, and all the indications are that Xi will not let him down.
The former French President believes Putin is banking on the West caving in and negotiating a settlement favourable to Russia in Ukraine.