Aid workers have described how they watched helplessly as Sudanese police officers dragged a female United Nations worker from an aid agency compound in Darfur and subjected her to a vicious sexual attack.
Not like those cool, level-headed Russians.
On Friday, Tony Blair wrapped up a farewell tour of Africa with a call for fellow G8 leaders to "step up to the plate" and do more to alleviate the misery of the world's poorest continent at their forthcoming summit. But Britain's hopes of using the summit to persuade the Russians to back an extension of existing sanctions against Khartoum look doomed to failure. Yury Viktorovich Fedotov, the Russian ambassador to Britain, told The Sunday Telegraph that sanctions were "not a matter of punishment but a matter of achieving a political goal".
He said Russia had received positive signals suggesting that Sudan's president, Omar Bashir, might be prepared to accept a hybrid African Union and United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur and wanted to give him more time before stepping up the pressure.
Mr Fedotov added that Britain and America might do better to follow Russia's "less emotional, more pragmatic and more practical" approach to dealing with Khartoum, rather than becoming emotionally involved. "It is a very tragic situation and it generates a lot of emotions, which in a way is good because it helps to attract the attention of the international community to the dramatic situation in Darfur, but on the other side emotions are not always helpful to find a diplomatic solution," he said.
"At some point emotions have to be put aside and diplomats have to work in a very straightforward but meaningful way to reach a solution which could bring a lasting peace and stability.
I wonder if Mr. Fedotov gave the same counsel to the families in Beslan.