The Straits Times says

Russia's deplorable invasion of Ukraine

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That a war could break out in the developed world in the 21st century over age-old issues of territory and spheres of influence is a shock to the system, not least because there is no telling how bloody and long it will go on for. In sending in his troops, Russian President Vladimir Putin has chosen to recast Europe's architecture, ignore reason and diplomacy and, worryingly for many, rebuild the once mighty Soviet empire. His moves have caused deep reflection about the value and reliability of the Western alliance and its seeming inability to respond with force and offer protection to nations that could be next on his land-grab list. To do so could, possibly, plunge Europe and the world into a conflict no one wants.

Mr Putin would surely have had this in his calculations when he ordered the invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea in the early hours of Thursday, shattering an era of peace that prevailed generally in Europe save the Balkans after the Cold War. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reflected the mood of the pivotal moment when he appealed to Russia to not start what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century, with devastating consequences for the world. The UN chief noted the particularly unfortunate timing of the conflict for the global economy given that the world is emerging from the coronavirus pandemic and developing countries need time and space for recovery. That would be difficult with high oil prices, the end of wheat exports from Ukraine, and rising interest rates caused by instability in global markets.

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