Star comment: This war looks likely to drag on

Hopes the Ukraine war would be over quickly look to have been dashed.

Russia wanted to invade quickly but failed. It imagined it would waltz into Kyiv, take the keys from President Zelenski and install a puppet regime.

Instead, it has lost many young soldiers and battle-hardened generals in a sickening war of attrition. It has helped to bring the West closer together, looks likely to make Nato stronger while turning itself into a pariah state with an economy that is going backwards.

That, however, hasn’t deterred Putin. He seems content to battle in the East as he seeks control of that and south Ukraine. He will look to hail whatever victories he can while continuing to be a thorn in the side of the West.

The dangers are there for all to see as the war slowly escalates. There are attacks on train stations and power plants, in addition to hospitals and schools. Russian supply lines are being disrupted as explosions set oil plants ablaze. The war is creeping towards Moldova with attacks in Transnistria.

Putin’s latest move by turning off oil and gas is part of moves that are sucking in the West. Putin has warned he will bomb any Western shipments or depots of arms destined for Ukrainian forces. That raises the prospect of Western forces being caught up.

Putin’s strategy is that it is fine for Russia to suffer as long as the West suffers as well. But inevitably there will come a time when gas and oil trade between the West and Russia ends. The West is still funding the war even if the result will be more economic instability.

Finally, the UK can test just how much Europe dislikes us. Recent failures at Eurovision have been put down to protests over Brexit, or simply that much of Europe doesn’t like us very much. The fact is that the voting has had more to do with us putting forward songs that are frankly sub-standard.

Not so this year. Sam Ryder’s entry is genuinely good. It should be a favourite.

If we get nul points this time, then we know Europe really doesn’t like us very much at all. Though, with Ryder’s music to keep us happy, perhaps that shouldn’t trouble us.

Besides, if we assess Britain’s contribution to the canon of global music, it is truly a leader. From The Beatles to the present day, we’ve been top of the charts and a snub by our European friends won’t deter us from keeping our position at number one. We remain a global leader, whether Eurovision likes us or not.

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