There is only one winner from Vladimir Putin’s monstrous war on Ukraine, and that is the Chinese Communist Party. To our eternal shame, Xi Jinping has spectacularly outwitted the West, drastically expanded his global influence, and turned Russia into a Chinese protectorate in all but name.

Russia was meant to have collapsed by now. Britain, America and Europe’s gambit was that drastic trade, financial and technological sanctions, a cap on the price of Russian seaborne oil, and substantial help to Ukraine would be enough to defeat Moscow. It hasn’t worked. For all of the sacrifices of the Ukrainian people, the war has reached a stalemate, at least until Kyiv’s counter-offensive.

The reason? China has quietly stepped in, bailing out Putin’s shattered economy on a transformational scale, swapping energy and raw materials for goods and technology.