Russian president Vladimir Putin has launched his war against Ukraine and now, the West must respond, via angry rhetoric, sanctions, and other means, fair and foul.

Ukrainian officials said Russia had attacked on a wide front along the country’s frontiers from Belarus to the north, Russia to the east and Russian-controlled Crimea in the south. Video posted by Ukrainian authorities showed tanks and armored personnel vehicles streaming through a border checkpoint.

Russian tanks were deployed on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, which is about 20 miles from the Russian border, witnesses said. Another offensive thrust was aimed at Kherson, a city on the Black Sea north of Crimea, Ukrainian officials said, adding that border guards and national-guard units had repelled an attempt by Russian armored units to cross from Belarus on the western side of the Dnipro River to the north of Kyiv.

Ukrainian officials also said military facilities and other infrastructure had been hit near the border with Poland, a NATO member. The objects struck included a television tower in the city of Lutsk, some 50 miles from the frontier, Lutsk airport and a nearby military army base.

We’ll follow this story because wars in eastern Europe have an historical tendency to spread beyond the region. And, also, because of the economic shocks such a conflict will bring to Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Wheat, oil, gas…the products of Russia and Ukraine have a global reach, and disruptions will have real consequences far beyond the battlefield.

And we will also remember that Russia has never been a friend to the West, the U.S., liberty, free markets, the rule of law, and so on. We will also now watch even more closely as that other foe of liberty, human rights, and human decency — communist China — turns its greedy eyes to Taiwan.