The war in Ukraine must end immediately, and there are three ways for that to happen.

The first is to accept all of the invader’s demands, which is for Europe gradually return to the pre-1989 era, albeit without the Berlin Wall. That would constitute a defeat of democracy through the force of arms, and it is unacceptable.

The second way is to attempt to crush the power that started the war and to topple its leader.

Such an eventuality would be counter-productive, as it would lead to a new Iraq, but it is also unfeasible, as President Vladimir Putin has access to the nuclear weapons button, and if he is placed under unbearable pressure he might drag the entire planet into a disaster.

The third and last way is for the Russian president to understand that the cost of trampling over treaties and international law is greater than the benefits yielded by the conquest of territory or, even more so, by the destruction of a country, and for Mr Putin to come in good faith to the negotiating table, so that compromises can be reached, guarantees given, and a viable future for everyone ensured.

To achieve that objective – to put an honourable end to the war and to send a strong deterrent signal to all those who dream of analogous adventures – the front of the West, of democracy in effect, must remain rock solid.

That is no easy task when basic interests of European citizens are endangered, as was demonstrated by the chaos related to Russian natural gas contracts.

Yet, it is absolutely necessary when human values and the very foundations of civilisation are at risk.

It is easy to shout, “We are all Ukrainians!” when we see the corpses in bombed cities and the tragically desperate faces of refugees.

What is difficult is to prove it in practice.