Europe at a turning point?
While people in Ukraine are taking refuge in bomb shelters and metro stations, preparing to defend themselves or to leave the country, the rest of Europe is wondering what Putin's war on its own doorstep means for the future - also in the long term. Commentators are clear on one thing: this is a watershed moment after which nothing will be the same.
Defend democratic order together
China has expressed understanding for Russia's aggression, which makes it all the more imperative that the West stands united, demands Dagens Nyheter:
“Beijing and Moscow don't always see eye to eye, but both want to overthrow the current order and create a new one in which the law of the strongest prevails and they make their own decisions in their respective regions. In the face of this, the democratic world must stand united. And Europe must cover a bigger share of the costs of our common security, which have so far been borne mainly by the United States. Sarajevo in 1914. Munich in 1938. Hungary in 1956. There are places and dates that will forever be associated with an unfortunate turning point in history when old illusions are shattered.”
Get ready for hard times
La Vanguardia expects hard times for all Europeans:
“The new problems with supply chains and especially the soaring prices for energy, raw materials and certain foodstuffs such as wheat will contribute to a significant increase in the already high inflation. ... Citizens must get ready to withstand and resist this first major economic impact of the armed conflict. European stock markets posted heavy losses of nearly four percent yesterday in one of the worst trading sessions since the pandemic began in March 2020. But Russian stock markets plunged a brutal 30 percent in what was the strongest confirmation of the historic mistake Vladimir Putin has committed.”
Europe must arm itself for an unstable future
The attack marks a turning point for Europe, writes De Volkskrant:
“Western sanctions and threats are not hurting Putin's megalomaniac dreams of regaining control of the breakaway former Soviet republics on the fringes of the EU. The consequences of the Russian invasion will not be overlooked. ... There are important lessons to be learned, for example regarding Europe's energy supplies and defence. To strengthen Nato, the European member states will have to greatly increase their contributions. With an aggressive neighbour to the east and a volatile ally to the west, Europe now stands at a turning point in history.”
We cannot explain this to our children
Putin is turning back the clock, writes Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov in a commentary for fakti.bg:
“He is taking us from the 21st century back to the 20th century with this war. And he is not only determining this for his country but also for a neighbouring country, for the whole of Europe, and perhaps for the whole world. ... What should I tell my daughter tonight, after promising her every night that there would be no war? What should we tell our children? How can we explain to them that the world is not yet fit for children? We need to clean up the basement, my wife says. It's a good thing there's a tap down there. This could go on for a while.”