Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg spoke recently of his fear that the war in Ukraine could spin out of control into a full-blown confrontation between Russia and the west. “If things go wrong, they can go horribly wrong,” he told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Stoltenberg’s remarks came on December 9, a few days after Ukraine is thought to have launched a series of drone strikes at airbases deep inside Russian territory. The following day, December 10, Russia reportedly used Iranian-supplied drones in response, attacking the key southern port city of Odesa and leaving 1.5 million people without electricity. Since then, the air war has further escalated.

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