People in Kyiv shelter from missile attacks in the basement of a school on February 24. (© picture alliance/EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO)

  Russia's war against Ukraine

  139 Debates

Thousands of people took to the streets in Russia on Wednesday to voice their discontent over Putin's announcement of a partial mobilisation. More than 500 people were arrested in Moscow and over 550 in St. Petersburg, according to the human rights organisation OVD-Info. Commentators are at odds about the extent to which the protests reflect the general mood in the country.

President Vladimir Putin's announcement of the partial mobilisation of Russian forces and nuclear threats have triggered growing concern about a further escalation and increased suffering in the war against Ukraine. Putin knows very well that a nuclear war should never be fought and cannot be won, Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday. Commentators see Russia weakened.

The successful counter-offensive around Kharkiv could represent a turning point in the Ukraine war. While Zelensky has announced new advances aimed at recapturing occupied territories, Putin has signalled willingness to negotiate. With his army failing, the Kremlin boss is coming under growing pressure.

Alla Pugacheva, a pop star and icon in Russia since the 1970s, has released a statement requesting that she be classified as a "foreign agent" in solidarity with her husband, comedian Maxim Galkin, who has been put on Russia's list of foreign agents. Her husband is an honest patriot who wishes his country "freedom of expression and an end to our boys dying for illusory aims which are turning our country into a pariah state", she said.

In the last few days the Ukrainian army has recaptured large areas in the Kharkiv region. Russia hastily withdrew from the region but retaliated with missile attacks on civilian power plants in Ukraine. Commentators examine the reasons for Ukraine's success and the potential consequences for Kyiv, the West, and also for Moscow.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has sounded the alarm. The situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is controlled by the Russian military, is "untenable", according to the report put out by the Agency after a visit to the facility. Commentators examine why the report fails to accuse Russia of war crimes and see the IAEA in a difficult position.

In future it will take longer and be more difficult and more expensive for Russian citizens to obtain a Schengen visa. The EU foreign ministers agreed to suspend the 2007 visa facilitation agreement, meaning that a complete halt to the issuing of tourist visas is off the table for the time being. Commentators criticise the compromise solution.

A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) hopes to contain one of the worst crises triggered by the Ukraine War and is on its way to investigate the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe. The plant is on the front line of the war, occupied by Russian troops and coming under fire.

Seven states on the EU's eastern flank are calling on the other EU member states to suspend the issuing of Schengen visas to Russian tourists. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has made similar demands. The EU foreign ministers will meet on Tuesday to discuss the proposal. Europe's press is divided.

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is the largest in Europe, is on the front line in the Ukraine war and is currently occupied by Russian troops. Last week the plant was completely disconnected from the Ukrainian grid for one day and operated only on an emergency power supply. An IAEA inspection team is now on its way to the site. What is going on, and how great is the risk of an accident?

In the sixth month of its war of aggression against Ukraine, Russia has not abandoned any of its objectives. After the initial shock and the subsequent sanctions and promises of solidarity, the EU seems to be battening down for a protracted war. Commentators look at the impact of the war on Europe's societies.

A crisis meeting in Lviv, Ukraine, attended by UN chief António Guterres, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ended on Thursday with an urgent appeal to halt military operations around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Erdoğan warned of a nuclear disaster and announced further efforts to resolve the conflict. Commentators remain sceptical.

The exact cause of the latest explosions in Crimea, which Russia has occupied since 2014, has yet to be identified. Russia says "sabotage" was behind the blasts and has announced it will investigate evidence of a drone attack on the arms depot. Commentators speculate on what action Russian President Vladimir Putin will take.

An explosion in the pro-Russian separatist area near Donetsk has left more than than 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war from the Azov regiment dead and over 70 injured. Ukraine and Russia are blaming each other for the attack on the prison camp. An independent investigation into what happened has not been possible so far. Commentators see Moscow as the culprit.

After Finland lifted Covid travel restrictions for non-EU citizens, Russian holidaymakers are also among those travelling to the country. And now that the value of the rouble has risen against the euro, cross-border shopping sprees are also popular once more. A number of Finnish parties are calling for a suspension of tourist visas for Russians. The nation's press is divided.

Representatives from Russia and Ukraine met Friday with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul to reach an agreement on how to export the grain supplies that are trapped in Ukrainian ports. On Saturday Russian rockets were fired on Odessa. According to Russia they were targeting military infrastructure, but according to Kyiv they hit civilian port facilities. Commentators are dismayed.

In Russia an apparatus of repression and propaganda has been established which is silencing the opposition - primarily to the war in Ukraine - and making the population submissive and disinterested. Now tougher laws on media control and 'foreign agents' have been introduced. What does this mean for dissent?

The Ukrainian president has suspended his secret service chief and childhood friend Ivan Bakanov as well as Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, citing dozens of cases of suspected collaboration with Russia by officials in their agencies. Europe's press speculates about what is going on behind the scenes.

Pope Francis has said he is praying for new negotiations on a ceasefire in Ukraine. He is not alone. As the battle lines harden on the ground, calls for Ukraine to seek a negotiated solution with Russia as soon as possible are again growing louder in the West in view of looming energy shortages and a global hunger crisis.

On Wednesday, representatives of Ukraine, Russia and Turkey met in Istanbul to negotiate again on a corridor through which 20 million tonnes of grain from Ukraine can be brought to the world market via Turkey. According to Turkish sources an agreement was reached, but nothing has been signed or published yet.

After intensive negotiations, the EU Commission and Lithuania have not been able to agree on a new directive for the control of sanctioned goods on the transit route between Russia and the exclave of Kaliningrad. This means that the second sanction stage for goods traffic came into force on Sunday. Lithuania has restricted transit since the end of June. Commentators advise not to lose their nerve.

In response to Russia's war against Ukraine, Latvia is reintroducing compulsory military service for men from 2023. Since 2007 - three years after joining Nato - the Latvian armed forces have consisted only of professional soldiers, alongside a National Guard made up of volunteers. The national press assesses this innovation positively, yet in part as insufficient.

For weeks, international concern has been growing that Minsk will join Russia's war against Ukraine. Following Vladimir Putin's announcement of the delivery of nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles to neighbouring Belarus, Alexander Lukashenka on Monday reiterated his support for Russia's actions in Ukraine. Britain has already announced new sanctions. What will happen next?

At a two-day conference in Switzerland that was originally intended to focus on anti-corruption, delegates from Ukraine consulted with international partners about the reconstruction of the country when Russia's war of aggression ends. Kyiv estimates that at least 720 billion euros will be needed. More than 40 states and international organisations promised their help in the Lugano Declaration.

Russia's conquests in the east of Ukraine are piling up. After the Luhansk region came almost entirely under Russian control with the fall of Lysychansk on Monday, Moscow's troops are advancing on the last cities still under Ukrainian control in the Donetsk region. For Europe's press, however, the outcome of the war is still not clear.

Ukraine's ambassador to Berlin Andrij Melnyk has provoked angry reactions after denying in an interview that the nationalist Ukrainian partisan leader Stepan Bandera was involved in massacres of Jews and Poles during the Second World War. The Kyiv Foreign Ministry clearly distanced itself from the remarks, saying that Melnyk had expressed his personal opinion. Nevertheless, there is widespread indignation, especially in Warsaw.

At least 18 people were killed when a Russian missile hit a busy shopping centre in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk on Monday. The participants of the G7 summit have called the attack a war crime and threatened Russian President Vladimir Putin with consequences. Ukrainian media discuss what turn the war will take now.

Lithuania has banned the transit of certain goods across its territory to the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, citing EU sanctions as the reason for the measure. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has described the move as an "openly hostile" blockade, and the Russian foreign ministry has threatened consequences. Europe's press examines what form they could take.

More than 7.5 million people have left Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. In the EU they are entitled to temporary protection for at least a year, with the right to a residence permit, work and housing, medical care and education for their children. Europe's press discusses the challenges on the path to successful integration.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis sent a clear message of solidarity with Ukraine during their visit to Kyiv, vowing to support the nation as long as needed. President Voldymyr Zelensky spoke of a "historic day" for his country. Commentators say more must be done, however.

A court in the self-proclaimed separatist Donetsk People's Republic DPR has handed down death sentences to two British and one Moroccan citizen who fought on the Ukrainian side. The British government and many countries in Europe have sharply criticised the judgment, saying it violates the law of war. Commentators are equally outraged - and concerned.

No apologies, barely a hint of self-criticism: for the first time since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, ex-German chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken at length about her former foreign policy. While in office she put consistent effort into preventing an escalation with Moscow, the CDU politician said in an interview on Tuesday evening. What do the media think of her stance?

While the states of the European Union are trying to present a united front vis-à-vis Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, EU accession candidate Serbia is backing out. Belgrade is avoiding joining the sanctions front and relying on good relations with Moscow. Commentators call for clear statements from Brussels.

Respect for borders, the sovereignty of states and the taboo of wars of aggression: all these principles have been radically called into question with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Europe's press asks how the world order is changing and what the new rules will look like.

The Russian navy has been blockading Black Sea ports including Ukrainian grain exports since the war against Ukraine began. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov yesterday rejected any responsibility for the famines that are looming in several countries and put the onus on Kyiv. Once Ukraine has de-mined its ports Moscow is willing to open grain export corridors, he said. Europe's press is dubious.

In an interview published in several French regional newspapers, President Emmanuel Macron has warned that humiliating Russia could prevent a diplomatic solution in the war against Ukraine once the fighting ends. He also said he believed France would play a mediating role to end the conflict.

Russia has been waging its war of aggression against Ukraine since 24 February 2022. Although Kyiv has managed to stop the country from being completely overrun, it has lost control of roughly one-fifth of its territory including the areas taken over in 2014 - despite all the weapons and support from the West. If the war continues like this the future looks bleak, commentators fear.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has displayed unusual force when countering accusations from the opposition that Germany is being too timid in its support for Ukraine: "We are providing comprehensive help," Scholz said during a budget debate in the Bundestag on Wednesday. As well as the weapons already supplied, Kyiv will receive the modern Iris-T air defence system, Gepard tanks and self-propelled howitzers from Berlin, he added. Commentators see this as just the beginning.

Turkey's President Erdoğan has again offered to act as mediator in talks aimed at ending the war in Ukraine, and proposed Istanbul as the venue. After German Chancellor Scholz and French President Macron had a phone conversation with Putin last week, Erdoğan has now also talked on the phone to the Russian president. And Turkey would be willing to participate in an observation mission in cooperation with Russia, Ukraine and the UN, he said. Commentators are dubious.

After more than a month of debate over imposing an oil embargo against Russia, the EU has reached a compromise: imports via sea routes will be blocked, while landlocked countries Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia will be able to continue receiving oil via the Druzhba pipeline. Hungary in particular fiercely opposed the embargo. Europe's press examines what this middle path can achieve.

Against the backdrop of new, intensified Russian attacks in eastern Ukraine, Europe is at odds over whether and how to end the war. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke on the phone with Russia's President Putin on Saturday in an attempt to persuade him to agree to a ceasefire. Prior to that, proposals put forward by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had caused a stir. The press is divided.

The war in Ukraine is shifting the balance of power in Europe. Finland and Sweden want to join Nato, Ukraine wants to join the EU. Russia cannot be completely isolated, President Vladimir Putin said yesterday in a video link with the Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek. European media examine whose side their countries are really on.

A member of Russia's UN mission in Geneva has quit his post. "I've never been so ashamed of my country," Boris Bondarev wrote in a farewell letter sent to his colleagues at the Russian Foreign Ministry. Europe's press commends the diplomat's courage but dampens hopes that many others will follow suit.

A 21-year-old Russian soldier has been sentenced to life in prison in the first war crimes trial since the war in Ukraine began. He confessed to shooting an unarmed 62-year-old civilian under pressure from his superior as they were trying to retreat and escape back to Russia in a stolen car in the first days of the war. His lawyer has said he will appeal the judgment. Europe's press takes stock of the trial from different perspectives.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger talked about ways to end the war in Ukraine. A humiliating defeat for Moscow would be dangerous, whereas territorial concessions to Russia would be an investment in long-term peace on the continent, he said. This elicits fierce reactions from Europe's commentators.

Although there are no signs of an end to Russia's war against Ukraine for the time being, people are already talking about how to rebuild the country. In Britain, the US, and also the EU there are discussions about whether it would be possible to use Russian capital assets that have been frozen due to sanctions. Other ideas are circulating in Europe's media.

Hunger levels around the world have reached a dramatic new high-point. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the problem because Russia has suspended its own grain exports and is blocking those from Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Now President Putin has said that he will lift the blockade on Ukrainian wheat if the sanctions against Russia are eased. What should the West do?

On the one hand the victory at the Azov steel plant can be seen as a partial success for the Russian army. At the same time there are growing signs that Russia is failing to achieve its war objectives, suffering considerable losses and being pushed back in some areas. Western intelligence services also report that Putin is increasingly interfering in day-to-day military operations. Europe's press speculates about the political pressure on Russia's domestic front.

Almost three months have passed since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine has managed to hold its own so far also thanks to Western backing, but it has not been able to gain the upper hand against Putin's troops. Commentators are unhappy with Europe's response to the war.

According to Russian sources, the last Ukrainian soldiers who fought until last week against the capture of the strategically important port city of Mariupol have left the Azovstal steel works and are now in Russian hands. The Ukrainian military leadership hopes for a prisoner exchange. Russian media in exile discuss their fate.

Sweden and Finland have submitted their applications to join Nato. The ratification process could now take up to a year. Moscow has called the plans a "grave mistake" and threatened consequences. Turkey has also voiced objections. Europe's press discusses the implications of the decision.

The war in Ukraine has prompted a historic shift in Finland's foreign policy: Prime Minister Sanaa Marin and President Sauli Niinistö said on Thursday that their country should join Nato 'without delay' on the grounds that membership would boost Finland's security. What does the move mean for the future of the European continent?

US Defense Secretary LLoyd Austin and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Friday had their first conversation since the war began. The EU is also stepping up diplomatic efforts: leading politicians are visiting Kyiv and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron are pushing for a ceasefire as a basis for negotiations. Commentators voice doubts that these efforts will succeed.

In his Victory Day address on Red Square, Vladimir Putin described Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a preventive step in the interest of peace. He said the West had been arming Ukraine and planning an invasion. The speech contained neither an official declaration of war nor the announcement of a general mobilisation. Europe's press analyses its content and impact.

For decades, the EU's foundations have been based on trade and the internal market, while security was the responsibility of others. This has changed with Russia's war against Ukraine. Security and defence policy are now at the top of the agenda, and in supplying arms the EU is taking sides. Not all European media welcome this change.

In his speech on Victory Day Putin has neither officially declared war on Ukraine nor ordered a general mobilisation of the country. Commentaries published immediately before Putin's address reflect how high the expectations were for the day and its impact on the war.

Russia's war against Ukraine is prompting more and more states to ask fundamental questions about their stance in global politics. Neutral countries like Switzerland and Austria are struggling to define their role. Others are at odds over the consequences of military support for Kyiv. European commentators complain that the debate is not being conducted honestly.

For weeks now, even independent surveys in Russia have put the approval rate for Putin's policies at a more or less constant level of around 82 percent. However, in view of all the propaganda, censorship and penalties for protest, Europe's commentators are dubious about how reliable these results are - especially now that the war against Ukraine has been going on for more than 100 days.

The EU Commission plans to further tighten its sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine: Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented a sixth package on Wednesday, which also includes an oil embargo. Transitional periods are intended to make it easier for skeptical member states to agree to the measures. European commentators pose questions about the potential consequences.

On 8 May many European countries celebrate the liberation from Nazi Germany and the end of the Second World War. Russia marks the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany with a Victory Day parade on Red Square on 9 May. This year, however, the celebrations are overshadowed by the war against Ukraine, which Putin is deliberately intertwining with the historical occasion for propaganda purposes.

Just over a week has passed since Ukraine's allies - including Germany - concentrated and expanded their military support for the country in its fight against Russia. Diplomatic efforts to end the war have for the most part been put on hold. A group of German intellectuals has now expressed grave concerns about this in an open letter to Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Europe's press discusses the arms build-up and German sensitivities.

The war in Ukraine is entering a new phase. More and more states in the West are supplying the Ukrainian army with heavy weapons. Russia is not only threatening to cut off gas supplies but also indicating it is prepared to resort to nuclear weapons. Europe's press is concerned and wonders how dangerous the cornered president can get.

A string of explosions in the breakaway region of Transnistria in the east of the Republic of Moldova is raising concerns about an expansion of the war in Ukraine. On Monday, a government building in Tiraspol was shelled and on Tuesday, two radio antenneas were blown up. Transnistria has been controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 1992. The border is about 40 kilometres from the Ukrainian port city of Odessa. The press is alarmed.

At the invitation of the US, more than 40 countries met on Tuesday at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to demonstrate unity in supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia. Berlin agreed to supply tanks to Kyiv after much hesitation and London plans to provide fighter jets. Europe's press debates whether more weapons will help or risk further escalation.

Vladimir Putin regularly attends Orthodox Church ceremonies on religious holidays, however he has rejected calls for a pause in the fighting in Ukraine over Orthodox Easter on 24 April. The ecumenical patriarch of all the self-governing Eastern Orthodox churches, Bartholomew I of Constantinople, has repeatedly called for an immediate end to the invasion. Europe's press comments on this Easter celebrated as war rages.

Against the backdrop of the rapidly deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised financial support but not the heavy weapons demanded by Kyiv. Like several other voices in the German press, he fears that weapons deliveries could further escalate the conflict. Europe's press for the most part finds this approach too hesitant.

Moscow announced it had captured the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on Thursday morning, but Kyiv promptly contradicted this. Ukrainian forces are still putting up resistance at the Azovstal steel plant. Only a few civilians at a time are being allowed to leave the port city, which has been sealed off by Russian military forces for weeks. Aerial shots show what appears to be new mass graves. Europe's press examines the symbolic significance of this battleground.

As a sanction against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian tennis players will be banned from participating in this year's Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon in London. The ban will affect No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev from Russia and two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Asarenka from Belarus. The press disagrees on whether this is the right approach.

The parliaments of the three Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Thursday labelled Russia's actions in Ukraine as genocide - about a week after US President Joe Biden also accused Russia of genocide in Ukraine. Commentators call for further steps to be taken.

EU Council President Charles Michel paid an unexpected visit to Kyiv on Wednesday. At a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky he said the EU would "do everything" to ensure Ukraine "will win the war". Empty promises or a sea change?

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared on Tuesday that the large-scale military operation against eastern Ukraine marked the beginning of a "new phase" in the war. The Russian forces are stepping up their attacks, the situation in the embattled port city of Mariupol is dramatic. Commentators debate anxiously over whether this new stage could involve nuclear weapons.

The battle for eastern Ukraine is raging: the Russian military on Wednesday reported that it had attacked 1,053 Ukrainian military sites. Ukraine said that it had blocked Russian troops from entering Sloviansk. Evacuations have begun in Kramatorsk. Ukrainian President Zelensky warned the population about attacks on residential areas. Commentators are following the situation with grave concern.

A meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday failed to produce an agreement on imposing an oil embargo against Russia. According to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, however, this option is not off the table. In the meantime, creative ways are being found to sidestep the sanctions already imposed, Europe's press observes.

On Wednesday evening, the heads of state of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland travelled to Ukraine to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky and send a signal of solidarity. The evening before the meeting it was reported that German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had been told he was not not welcome in Kyiv. Commentators can understand why.

Many left-wing parties in Europe are facing a crucial test: what stance to adopt vis-à-vis Russia, which is waging a war of aggression against Ukraine, but which as the successor state of the Soviet Union helped liberate Europe from fascism? And how do they feel about the US, Nato, arms supplies and rearmament? This dilemma is also reflected in the press.

Russia's president has stressed that the attack against Ukraine is proceeding according to plan and denied that the withdrawal from the Kyiv region was a defeat. He claims the intention was to first paralyse the enemy so that Russia would be better positioned for the planned major offensive in eastern Ukraine. Some observers say Moscow plans to take eastern Ukraine before 9 May. Europe's press is worried.

The war in Ukraine is having a major impact on the world economy. Shortages of grain and other essential foodstuffs are causing prices for basic foodstuffs to rise rapidly, according to the WTO. A look at Europe's commentaries shows which approaches are not at all helpful.

The atrocities committed in Bucha, which Moscow categorically denies, sent shock waves around the world and provoked an even harsher tone against Russia. Now a video has emerged - verified by the New York Times - showing the execution of a captured Russian soldier by troops fighting under the Ukrainian flag. Europe's press debates how to deal with such acts.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital on the weekend. On the one hand, the UK has supplied Ukraine with weapons without hesitation since the beginning of the war, but on the other hand it has been slow in imposing sanctions on Russian oligarchs for a long time. Commentators criticise the PM for putting himself in the limelight.

Now it’s Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer who who is trying to mediate in the Ukraine war. On Monday he travelled to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin in person, becoming the first EU leader to meet with Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine. While there he called for an investigation into war crimes like the one in Bucha. Commentators discuss what the visit can achieve in the current situation.

Zelensky spoke to the Greek parliament in a video address on Thursday. He also showed the video message of a man who introduced himself as a member of the Greek minority in Ukraine and is fighting in Mariupol. The fact that the man is a member of the ultra-nationalist Azov regiment has triggered debate in the commentary sections of Greek media.

The Ukraine war has given new impetus to the ongoing debate about the United Nations' power or rather lack thereof. Kyiv, in particular, has described the Security Council as toothless in view of Russia's veto power as a permanent member and called for a general reform of the international body. The Human Rights Council is also under fire - despite the suspension of Russia's membership.

Moscow's blanket denials of atrocities in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha have sparked widespread outrage. While the West is imposing new sanctions and calls for war crimes trials grow louder, Ukraine is reporting many new civilian casualties in other areas from which the Russian troops have withdrawn. What can and should Europe do to prevent further suffering?

Russia has passed a decree stipulating that in future purchases of Russian gas must be paid for in roubles through an account at Gazprombank. The decree takes effect this Friday. Moscow's demand has been categorically rejected by important customers such as Germany and France. Europe's press takes very different views on who will suffer most as a result of the decree.

Organisations such as the UN World Food Programme are sounding the alarm: the war in Ukraine is not only causing suffering for those in the disputed areas but also also threatens to unleash a global food crisis. Taken together, Ukraine and Russia produce a third of the world's wheat, for example. Europe's press debates strategies in this dangerous situation.

Turkey was an obvious choice as the venue for the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia: it shares a border with both countries. Turkey is a member of Nato and supported Russia's opponents in Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh, but it also has frequent quarrels with the EU over gas, Cyprus and refugees. As a mediator, it has now gained additional clout. Commentators are less than enthusiastic.

There were signs of rapprochement in the negotiations on the Ukraine war on Tuesday. Russia said it plans to reduce its attacks on Kyiv and concentrate on eastern Ukraine. Ukraine formulated conditions for agreeing to neutrality, including the establishment of a group of states that will guarantee the country's security. Europe's press remains very sceptical.

For the first time in three weeks, Ukrainian and Russian delegations are coming together for direct face-to-face negotiations this week. Ukraine has said the minimum goal was to improve the humanitarian situation in the besieged cities, but has also indicated willingness to discuss neutrality. Some commentators discuss whether there is a chance that these negotiations could lead to a quick ceasefire. Others advise Ukraine not to rush things.

Russia's war against Ukraine has prompted Germany, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and other countries to announce increases in their military budgets. Berlin alone plans to spend an additional 100 billion euros this year. But defence requires more than just money, Europe's press observes.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine criticism of Germany for its hitherto Russia-friendly policy has increased. The country has now put the controversial Nordstream 2 pipeline project on ice but it continues to purchase gas from Russia and for economic reasons rejects calls for it to immediately suspend all imports. Commentators are annoyed.

During his speech in Poland, Biden stressed that the Western military alliance would defend every inch of Nato territory. However, two remarks in which he called Putin "a butcher" and declared that he "cannot remain in power" caused more of a stir. Europe's press examines the consequences.

Russia has been trying to subjugate Ukraine since February 24 - so far without success but with catastrophic humanitarian consequences. While Russia and Ukraine meet to negotiate a potential ceasefire in Istanbul, the European press takes a look at post-war scenarios.

In a video speech to the Israeli Knesset on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke of Moscow envisaging a "final solution" to destroy the people of Ukraine. Since the beginning of the war against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has frequently been compared to Hitler and Stalin. Useful or dangerous? Europe's press is divided.

The war in Ukraine has not only forced millions living there to flee, it is also fuelling an exodus from Russia - the most recent prominent case being Olga Smirnova, prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre, who is now in the Netherlands. According to an assessment by research website Thrivemyway, Russians have done millions of online searches for "emigration from Russia 2022" since the end of February. How will they be received in Europe?

Bombardments and assaults on hospitals, residential areas and civilians are all officially classified as war crimes. The International Criminal Court thus opened an investigation into Russia's attacks on Ukraine as early as 3 March. Last Wednesday, US President Joe Biden openly called Vladimir Putin a war criminal. Commentators examine what calling Putin a war criminal - and taking legal action against him - can achieve.

Three weeks after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, Kremlin leader Putin repeated his justifications for the war in a televised address, saying Russia must defend itself against the attacks of the West. He said the "special military operation" to demilitarise Ukraine was going according to plan. Commentators see the repetition of untruths as a sign of instability.

Zelensky has repeatedly addressed parliamentarians since the war began: first he reminded MEPs that Ukraine belongs to the European family. Addressing the US Congress he spoke of Pearl Harbor and 9/11. Speaking to the British House of Commons, he quoted Churchill. And in the German Bundestag he spoke of a new wall that Putin was building across Europe. How effective is this strategy?

The negotiations between representatives of Ukraine and Russia on the Ukraine war have so far failed to produce results. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky therefore reiterated on Monday the need for direct talks between him and Putin. He said Ukraine was ready to renounce Nato membership if it received equivalent security guarantees. Europe's press sees many obstacles.

On Monday evening, journalist Marina Ovsyannikova ran on to the set during the live main news programme of Russian state-controlled TV station Channel 1 holding a sign with anti-war and anti-propaganda appeals. The scene only lasted a few seconds but reached millions of viewers. Ovsyannikova was arrested but has now been fined and released. The European press praises her courageous action.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the Russian delegation's position in the negotiations is becoming "more realistic". At the same time the Russian military has stepped up its attacks on Ukraine. Commentators discuss what support Europe can provide.

The prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia travelled by train to Kyiv on Tuesday to pledge solidarity and support for Ukraine in a meeting with President Zelensky. "This is the fight of freedom against the world of tyranny," said Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki. There was no official EU mandate for the visit, but it is said to have been coordinated with Brussels and the UN. Zelensky said the visit was a strong signal of support. Europe's press takes differing views.

The war in Ukraine is causing a marked rise in energy prices across the globe. This is one of the factors driving Europe to seek independence from Russian fossil fuels as quickly as possible. In the short term, governments are also trying to develop strategies to cushion the impact of price hikes and counteract the impoverishment of the population. Europe's press debates the different approaches.

Citing government officials, the New York Times, the Financial Times and other US newspapers have reported that Moscow has asked Beijing for military aid in the Ukraine war. Zhao Lijian, deputy director of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has said this is misinformation. Europe's press discusses the potential consequences if Beijing steps in to support Moscow.

For the first time a foreign journalist has been killed in in the Ukraine war. In Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, 50-year-old US reporter Brent Renaud died of gunshot wounds in a car on Sunday. A colleague and the Ukrainian driver were injured. The increasingly difficult situation for journalists covering the war prompts commentators to reflect on their profession.

With the war in Ukraine, relations between Russia and the rest of Europe have reached their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. All EU countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia have been put on a list of "hostile countries" by Putin. The European press looks to the past and reflects on how Europe should prepare for the future.

The British government has imposed sanctions on seven Russian oligarchs considered to have close ties to President Putin, including the owner of the football team Chelsea FC, Roman Abramovich. Their assets are to be frozen and they are banned from entering the country. In addition, they are no longer allowed to do business with British companies or private individuals. Are these measures justified?

Energy prices were already high before the Ukraine war, and continue to rise, while inflation is at around seven percent in many European countries. Foodstuffs, particularly wheat and sunflower oil, of which Russia and Ukraine are major producers, has become much more expensive. Commentators fear a serious economic crisis, to varying degrees.

The meeting between Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Antalya ended without concrete results. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was nevertheless cautiously optimistic: "No one expected that all the problems would be solved, but a start had to be made." Commentators agree.

Punitive measures against Russia are not only cutting off Russians' access to Western products but in some cases also to education and cultural exchange. Many Russians who oppose Russia's course are having problems organising their departure from the country. The press discusses whether the sanctions are hitting their mark.

Talks between Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba are under way in Turkey today in the first meeting between high-ranking representatives of the two countries since the war began. In Europe's commentary columns expectations that the meeting will be fruitful remain low.

Poland has offered to send 28 Soviet-made fighter jets, which Ukrainian air force pilots already know how to fly, to Ukraine to help it defend itself against the Russian invaders. The MiG-29 jets were to be delivered to a US air base in Germany, repainted, and transferred to Ukraine. Washington has now rejected the scheme citing fears that Nato could be dragged into the war. Is this peacekeeping or a missed opportunity?

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, European non-Nato members are increasingly concerned about their own security. In Finland and Sweden in particular, support for proposals to join the Western defence alliance is growing. Finland's President Sauli Niinistö expects a large parliamentary majority to vote in favour of applying for membership. Commentators stress that security is not just a military issue.

The US has announced a ban on energy imports from Russia. Although the EU will not join the embargo, it plans to cut imports of Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of the year and be independent of Russian fossil fuels well before 2030. While some commentators stress that this is not the time for hesitation, others argue that an embargo won't make much difference anyway.

Russia and China have strengthened their relations in recent years. After breaking its ties with the West, Moscow now seems more dependent on Beijing, which has so far remained neutral on the Ukraine issue. Commentators look at who would benefit from a new axis between Russia and China.

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is trying his hand as a mediator in the Ukraine war. First he trvelled to Moscow for a meeting with Putin and then he flew to Berlin. But China is also under discussion for the role. Europe's press examines the options and the vested interests states may be pursuing when they propose their service as mediators.

President Volodymyr Zelensky is calling on Nato to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine to stop the bombing of his country by Russia. But all members of the defence alliance have so far categorically ruled out this option. President Putin has reiterated his warning that Russia would interpret such a move as a declaration of war and retaliate accordingly. Europe's press is divided.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has said that on Thursday further sanctions to be imposed by the United States and other countries against Russia to hasten the end of the invasion of Ukraine will be announced. Europe's press discusses how willing individual states are to cooperate.

The Russian president is showing no signs of relenting in the war against Ukraine. After a telephone conversation with Putin, French President Macron said that the worst was yet to come. Kyiv evoked "nuclear terror" in the wake of the shelling of the site of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and urgently called for more weapons. European commentators ask whether peace is at all possible.

The United Nations General Assembly has passed by an overwhelming majority a resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and calling for the immediate withdrawal of its military forces. 141 members voted for the resolution, with five votes against and 35 abstentions. A previous binding resolution in the UN Security Council failed due to the Russian veto. How far does Putin's influence still reach?

After a week of war, the crisis in Ukraine has taken on ever more dramatic proportions. Several major cities were targeted by heavy air attacks last night, and the southern city of Kherson has fallen to the Russian forces. Ukrainian and Russian representatives are now to meet for a new round of talks in Belarus. Europe's press examines to what extent Putin has his back to the wall.

In his first State of the Union Address, US President Joe Biden not only addressed his own people but also emphasised the West's unity against the Russian attack on Ukraine. Commentators take stock of the speech and express relief that Biden's predecessor is no longer in office.

For days now, European media have been covering the war in Ukraine around the clock, often stressing that these events are taking place in the middle of Europe. More distant conflicts receive less attention and refugees from other crisis areas less solidarity, commentators criticise.

As Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities intensify, plans for online talks between delegations from the two countries have been announced. President Zelensky hopes the new round of talks will pave the way for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Putin. Europe's press doubts that real progress can be made.

The war in Ukraine is also having repercussions on international cultural life: Russian star conductor Valery Gergiev lost his post as chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra after he failed to publicly distance himself from his friend Vladimir Putin. Performances by opera star Anna Netrebko, who said on the weekend that she was against artists being forced to reveal their political beliefs, have also been cancelled. Europe's press analyses the pros and cons of such views.

Ukraine has asked for expedited European Union membership under a special procedure. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed the EU's special relationship with Ukraine in an interview on Sunday: "Ukraine is one of us and we want them in the European Union." Europe's press debates to what extent a fast-track accession procedure would be possible - and sensible.

The European Union has announced it will provide Ukraine with half a billion euros worth of weapons and equipment. Tough sanctions against Russia were adopted quickly and unanimously. Commentators are impressed by this unusually rapid and unified response.

The 44-year-old Volodymyr Zelensky has been President of Ukraine since May 2019. Before that, the lawyer worked as an actor and comedian. His courageous and skillful denunciation of Putin's brutality and calls on the West to show solidarity have turned him into a national and international role model, as Europe's press comments admiringly.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing the Russian invasion of their country and heading westwards - mainly to neighbouring states where many Ukrainians already live, but also beyond. Commentators call for as much help and support as possible for these people, but also focus on the challenges this brings.

Berlin has reacted to the Russian invasion of Ukraine with a change of course in its defence policy. Anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles from the Bundeswehr are due to arrive in Ukraine today, Monday. Europe's press discusses to what extent this marks a turning point.

Russian citizens are protesting in different ways: they are risking brutal suppression in banned street protests, signing petitions, and people in the cultural sector are boycotting their state employers. However, the majority of the population continues to support the government's course. Commentators discuss the role played by the various actors here and the protesters' chances of success.

In reaction to the harsher sanctions against his country, Russia's President Putin has ordered a "special regime of combat duty" for the army's deterrent forces, including nuclear weapons. He justified the step with what he called "aggressive statements" by the West. The US has interpreted the move as a further escalation and Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stressed the seriousness of the situation. Europe's press also voices its concern.

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.

Now that Moscow has effectively declared war on Kyiv, what about the rest of Eastern Europe? Could tanks soon be rolling into Estonia or Poland? Are more attacks in the offing? Commentators discuss what Europe must prepare for.

Russian Finance Ministry announced on Thursday that it had transferred the 117 million dollars in interest on Eurobonds. In view of the sanctions, it was unclear right up to the last moment whether Moscow would honour its contractual obligations. Commentators discuss the likelihood of Russia going bankrupt as well as what holds the country's economy together.

The Russian military continued its large-scale attack on Ukraine on Thursday and Friday. According to official figures coming out of Kyiv, at least 137 people were killed on Thursday. Missiles also hit residential buildings. Tanks are reportedly advancing on the capital. More than 100,000 people are fleeing the attacks, according to the UN. Europe's press discusses what the EU and Nato can do.

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.