Russia invades Ukraine

The Russian military attacked Ukraine in the early hours of this Thursday morning. Missiles hit the capital Kyiv and other cities, while ground troops advanced on several fronts on Ukrainian territory. Putin warned other states not to stand in Russia's way. Europe's press is appalled and demands consequences.

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Ekho Moskvy (RU) /

I'm ashamed of my president

Echo of Moscow publishes statements by Russian journalists who are appalled by Putin's actions. Film critic Anton Dolin writes:

“Tonight, the worst and most shameful event of my life occurred. The president of my country declared war on Ukraine. ... I never voted for him, yet I feel endless shame and disgust. Dear Ukrainians, I know that none of you will be listening to such individual voices now, but all of my thoughts are with you. ... Probably for the first time in my life, I am so shocked and perplexed by the blackness of evil at the epicentre of which we all find ourselves right now. And it is uncertain what - or whom - we should hope for. I do not write 'forgive'. Such a thing is unforgivable.” (BG) /

Flags on Facebook won't stop bullets is pessimistic:

“We'll pat ourselves on the back and say that we've used all the diplomatic means at our disposal. ... But Ukraine is now alone. Just like Czechoslovakia in 1938 and Poland in 1939. We'll put the Ukraine flag on our profile photos. But flags on Facebook don't stop bullets or bring back children who have been killed. A tragedy will unfold before our eyes. It will last for weeks or months, and then fade away. ... In the long term, on the northern coast of the Black Sea, less than 600 kilometres away, a tumour is forming on the body of Europe. A ticking time bomb. And one day it will explode.”

Sme (SK) /

The world order is at stake

Sme sees the attack as a turning point:

“No matter how the situation develops, one thing is clear: this challenging of the basic consensus of the 21st century world order - the inadmissibility of the use of force to change state borders - must not go unanswered. If only to prevent other autocrats from returning to the politics of spheres of influence. This applies regardless of whether the Russians move on to Kyiv or 'only' to the borders of Donetsk and Luhansk drawn by the separatists.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Put Putin on trial

The aggressor state must face real international consequences, defence consultant Karin Kaup-Lapõnin demands in Eesti Päevaleht:

“Estonia must demand that Russia's membership in the UN Security Council be suspended for as long as Russia refuses to abide by the UN Charter. An aggressor state that threatens the whole of Europe and has been annexing other countries' territories for 30 years has no place in the highest institution for the protection of international peace and security. It is time to expand sanctions against Russia and bring Putin before the International Criminal Court. Estonia, too, must be ready to provide active support to Ukraine.”

Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

Ukrainians know what freedom tastes like

This time more is at stake for Putin than in previous military campaigns, Ilta-Sanomat stresses:

“So far Putin has never been put in his place when he's gone to war. Chechnya, Georgia, eastern Ukraine, Syria - all were more or less successes. ... But that is no guarantee of future victories. Even if Russia steamrolls Ukraine, it faces a nation with 40 million inhabitants who have enjoyed the taste of freedom. Bringing Ukraine to heel may be impossible. How far Putin will go remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that the probability of him ending up with a broken nose this time is many times higher. ... The risk is enormous, because what's at stake here is what led to this situation in the first place, namely Putin's own power.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Nato now stronger

If Putin's goal is to reduce Nato's presence on Europe's eastern flank, he is now achieving exactly the opposite, La Repubblica points out:

“In this scenario Moscow regains control over part of Ukraine, where the hot front of the 'new cold war' lies, and perhaps manages to install a government under its control in Kyiv as well, as it did in Minsk. However, it faces a strengthened Nato that is preparing to welcome Sweden (perhaps) and Finland into its ranks. If Putin's goal was to keep America out of Europe and weaken Nato, this move is a mistake.”