I wouldn’t go so far as to pity him, but I wouldn’t like to be in his place. Faced with these Ukrainians who just do not stop resisting his armies, his tanks and his bombs, Mr. Putin has only bad choices left.

He can try to seize the whole Ukrainian coast, including Odessa, concentrate all his forces on this objective, succeed and proclaim himself the winner, but then what?

Kiev remains in the hands of “Nazi drug addicts”?

Would he, this invincible warlord who is supposed to terrorize the whole world, his own people, the whole of Europe and even the United States, be only satisfied with a partition of Ukraine, half of which would inevitably join the Atlantic Alliance, which would suddenly find itself on the borders of a reconstituted Empire, albeit a baby-sized one?

No, frankly, it would not be glorious and even the Russian television, otherwise so skilled at transforming red handkerchiefs into white rabbits, would have difficulty in turning this defeat into a victory.

If I were one of those advisors you seem to do without so carelessly, this is not what I would recommend to you, Mr. Putin, because such an admission of weakness could give ideas, even audacity, to too many people around you whom your so short-sighted certainties have driven into the wall.

No. At this point, do not give in. Be stubborn, and if Kiev does not surrender in a penitent’s frock and rope around the neck crush it, break it, raze it under a carpet of bombs as you did in Grozny and then in Aleppo. After all, three war crimes or one, especially at your age, should not make much difference in the verdict that the Hague tribunal will render, but still, before you get there, think carefully.

It was in Kiev that Russia was baptized, more than a thousand years ago. Kiev is to Russian Orthodoxy what Rome is to Catholicism or Reims to French History, and beware! The Russian prince, the mad tsar, the Moscow Nero who would destroy Kiev would commit such a sacrilege that his victory would be the signature of his crime and that he would not be burned in hell but in the public square, still in his lifetime.

No one can pity you anymore, Mr. Putin, because your crimes are already so great that there is no man left to forgive you, but then what? What do you have left?

Blow up the planet to die with it? Tempting, of course, but difficult because you have daughters you seem to love.

Simply confess your mistakes? Publicly ask forgiveness from Ukraine and from your people and disappear forever in a monastery? This is not your style and societies are made in such a way that one has to be accountable to them.

So, for once, listen instead to what intelligence you may have and address yourself, humbly, to the Ukrainian people to ask them to forget your empire-building ambitions and to help you reach out to the European Union to lay the foundations, one bridge at a time, for the stability and cooperation that our common continent needs so much more than the apocalypse you threaten the world with and the misfortune with which you are overwhelming Ukraine, the heroic, the noble, the glorious Ukraine.

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