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Op-ed: Putin’s battlefield failures provide an opportunity for the world to step up efforts to help end the war in Ukraine

The world is entering the moment of maximum danger — and at the same time of maximum opportunity — in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, now in its seventh month.

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It is the moment of maximum danger because Putin is so dramatically failing in the pursuit of his delusional obsession — which prompted him to launch a major invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 — that he could rebuild some modern notion of the Russian empire with Kyiv as its centerpiece and as his legacy.

As Ukrainian courage and resilience transform his hubris into humiliation, the danger is rising that he could turn to weapons of mass destruction, including the use of tactical nuclear weapons, to coerce Ukraine and confound its allies at a time when Putin’s influence is eroding and he is running out of options.

This presents a moment of maximum opportunity for world leaders at the gathering this week of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the first since Putin launched his war. It’s a chance for U.S. President Joe Biden, alongside his European and Asian allies, to openly discuss the dangers Putin’s war poses to any country that cares about national sovereignty, to condemn Putin’s indisputable war atrocities, and to sway those remaining fence-sitters around the world who have neither condemned Putin nor backed sanctions against him.

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