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What can Western countries do in practical terms to help the people of Ukraine? For the moment, under attack, the democratic government of that country is still, just, in place and functioning.

But such is the imbalance of forces that at some point relatively soon the senior figures in the Ukrainian administration will be faced with the choice of whether to stand and fight in the capital, or disappear into hiding in rural Ukraine or leave the country to direct resistance and stand for a free Ukraine, in expectation of its restoration, from there. If they stay, President Putin is perfectly capable of whisking the senior leadership away for a show trial. Leaving is a better option.

President Zelenskyy has demonstrated bravery in recent weeks and months, but his background is in acting and comedy. It seems unlikely he will lead resistance on the ground. There is no shame in departing to stand for freedom and hope to return later when the tyrant is defeated or removed.

In 1940, even the warrior Charles de Gaulle chose exile, in London, from where he led (sometimes to the irritation of Churchill) the Free French.

The thoughts of Ukrainian diplomats are already turning to where a government in exile might be best based. London, capital of a robust ally, is regarded as the likely location.

Boris Johnson when asked in the Commons on Thursday afternoon about a government in exile said he had told President Zelenskyy the British government stands ready to offer shelter and support to the Ukrainian cabinet.