The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The cost to Russia when Ukraine wins the war

A residential neighborhood heavily damaged by Russian strikes in Dobropillya, Ukraine. (Heidi Levine for The Washington Post)
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The May 1 editorial “Risks worth taking” said that defeating Russian President Vladimir Putin “will require larger U.S. commitments.” That is something we can all agree on, assuming it means commitments from our NATO partners, as well.

Left unsaid in the editorial was what those risks are and the costs to carry out that plan. Ensuring that Ukraine wins the war means recovering the territory, including seaports, lost since the outset of the invasion.

Winning might not be possible without Ukraine being able to strike its enemy’s encampments beyond Ukraine’s border. When the war ends, the timing of which is entirely in Mr. Putin’s hands because time is on his side, another cost would be the breathtaking effort required to rebuild Ukraine’s cities, towns, villages and infrastructure and relocate a quarter of its people back to their homes.

Russia needs to be made to pay for that by the international banking system — and not in rubles.

Reg Mitchell, Bethesda