Biden’s dramatic visit to Kyiv Monday amid wailing air raid sirens and his soaring speech in Warsaw a day later reinforced the West’s remarkable support for Ukraine’s resistance to Russia and directly repudiated President Vladimir Putin. But Putin issued his riposte in an annual address, framing the war in Ukraine as a wider existential battle against the West. After Biden vowed the US will be with Ukraine for as long as it takes, Putin’s speech underlined just how long that may be, raising the possibility of more years of war that will stretch the commitment of Western governments and populations to the cause.
China is meanwhile injecting its own strategic play into this widening great power brouhaha. It sent its top diplomat Wang Yi – his ears ringing with US warnings not to send Russia arms to use in Ukraine – to Moscow for high-level talks, even as a Sino-American spy balloon feud simmers.