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Ukraine: the whole world wants peace ... except for Putin

[This editorial is also available in Ukrainian.]

Both the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the UN General Assembly meetings illustrated Putin's isolation.

By choosing to escalate, he has forced those on whom he relies – China, India, Turkey – to remind him that "the territorial integrity of all countries must be respected" (Chinese communiqué), that "this is not the time for war" (Narendra Modi), that "such illegitimate acts will not be recognised by the international community" (R. Erdogan).

He himself had to admit, in a further lie, that he understands "Chinese issues and concerns in the Ukrainian crisis". He is really alone.

The American president was right to recall the universality of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which are again being invoked by a number of countries tempted at one time to distance themselves from it. The values it sets out are not "Western". They are universal and represent a common good of humanity; they allow for relative stability in international relations. The world community of states needs this framework and these references.

It is striking to note how attached people are to them. They condemn wars of aggression and therefore the use of brute force in relations between states. They pay great attention to the respect of human rights.

For many, there is no longer any dispute that cannot be settled by negotiation and compromise. Major conflicts are feared, as history and collective memories are stained by so much accumulated suffering.

The Russians themselves seem overwhelmingly hostile to war despite censorship and repression, and those who can are leaving the country.

Perhaps the most moving message calling on Putin to stop his criminal actions in Ukraine came from Elbegdorj Tsakhia, the former president of Mongolia, who implored him to stop his war. He too called for peace. And throughout Central Asia, the former Soviet republics, now independent, are breaking away from Moscow and its excesses.

By not responding to these almost unanimous requests around the world, Putin is exposing himself to a judgment that will not only be moral. He is the only one responsible for having unleashed a murderous war. He is now the only obstacle to peace.