My friend, the novelist Alan Judd, emails with the right quotation for those who argue that Putin should be given an ‘off-ramp’. It is from Henry V: ‘How can they charitably dispose of any thing when blood is their argument?’ It really is Putin’s argument. I have been studying an astonishing piece from RIA Novosti, the official Russian news agency, earlier this month, called ‘What Russia should do with Ukraine’. Barbarously written (or possibly barbarously translated), and barbarous in thought, it is about the need to extirpate every ‘Nazi – read Ukrainian –’. The Ukrainians have for years supported ‘total terror’ in ‘Odessa, Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Mariupol, and other Russian cities’, apparently, and so there must be ‘a set of measures in relation to the Nazified population mass, which technically cannot be subjected to direct punishment as war criminals’: ‘All of them are equally involved in extreme cruelty against the civilian population, equally guilty of the genocide of the Russian people, do not comply with the laws and customs of war.