Ukraine conflict: touch and go with balance of power

As the year draws to an end, Moscow has once again adopted a harsher tone in the Ukraine conflict. Russian troops remain stationed near the border and President Putin has accused the US of "aggressive" behaviour and threatened to respond "with adequate military-technical measures" if it persists. Commentators analyse the balance of power.

Open/close all quotes
Il Manifesto (IT) /

Russia flexing its muscles

The Russian state-owned company Gazprom has suspended gas deliveries to Germany via the Yamal pipeline. Perhaps Russia really is in the driver's seat, Il Manifesto speculates:

“Is Nato really in a position to withstand the Kremlin's blackmail? To what extent will the governments of the Atlantic Alliance give priority to military matters in their relations with Moscow? Russia has been facing particularly harsh sanctions for almost eight years, but they've had far less impact on the country's economic and political system than expected. ... Meanwhile, Europe received a painful reminder yesterday of how much clout Russia wields on the global market. ... The price of natural gas has once again reached an all-time high.”

Delfi (LT) /

Small states to have a say in big matters

For political scientist Linas Kojala it is laudable that at least officially, Nato does not want to make decisions over the heads of the smaller states, he writes in Delfi:

“What is being rejected here is the possibility of agreeing on zones of influence so that smaller states can be pushed around like pawns on a chessboard. We may wonder whether these are not just empty words. ... Surely, however, it would be a mistake not to notice the mental changes that are shifting the geopolitical balance in favour of smaller states. 'Nothing may be decided about them in their absence' - true, this image does not give absolute certainty, but it demonstrates the progress Western geopolitics has made in the last hundred years.”

Phileleftheros (CY) /

Europe's assurances are not worth much

Ukraine should prepare for the worst, Phileleftheros advises:

“Despite the loud assurances, Europeans are reluctant to inflict economic damage on Russia because they are well aware that this would have consequences for them too. Let's not be deceived by the harsh rhetoric and threats on both sides. ... The West is now hoping that Putin is either bluffing and won't invade Ukraine, or that the threat of sanctions will be enough to stop him. If it turns out it is mistaken on both counts, the situation could take a dangerous turn for Ukraine. It would be wise for the country to prepare for the possibility that it will have to face a powerful enemy alone at a difficult time.”

Ria Nowosti (RU) /

The East is prepared for the new era

The West should slowly adjust to a new role in a new era, Ria Novosti advises:

“Russia wants a new world order and is working to build it - and we are sure that we can build it together with other great civilisations. However, we do not need an accelerated collapse of the Atlantic project, but rather a controlled transition from the fading Atlantic-Western era to a new world. This also fits in with the strategic interests of the West - in relation to the dawning era. We need a controlled exit from the position of a failed hegemon to that of an influential global player.”