Ukraine war: peace only after total capitulation?

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.

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Lidové noviny (CZ) /

This war will drag on

Lidové noviny does not harbour any illusions:

“Major wars are won through technical and material superiority. That superiority is on the Russian side. The question is what such a victory would look like. ... Probably not the occupation of all of Ukraine and its annexation by Russia. But it is clear that Putin will insist on the country's submission to his power, and that Kyiv will never do so. This war will drag on. Nevertheless, a look at the map of the movement of the fronts and at the Russian advances on the Black Sea makes one quite pessimistic. We should not count on the Ukrainian refugees now coming to us going home any time soon.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Next on the list

La Vanguardia considers it possible that Nato will have to step in to defend its members with military force:

“The worst will be the massacre announced by Putin himself if the Ukrainian government doesn't capitulate unconditionally. ... The worst will be to know what Putin will do if he succeeds in occupying Ukraine and setting up a puppet government. ... Countries like Georgia, Moldova and the Baltic republics fear they are next on the list. The worst will be that if this were the case, Nato would be obliged to react to defend its members [Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania]. ... The outlook is truly bleak.” (UA) /

Impose a no-fly zone now!

In view of the Russian attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine:

“In general, nuclear power plants may be targeted by occupiers for the following reasons: to disperse radioactive material, to disrupt the power supply, to use them as leverage in 'peace talks', and if the occupiers destroy the nuclear plant during their withdrawal, this can cause significant damage and additional chaos. ... Consequently, a swift and strong response from the EU and the world is needed to stop the war started by Russia and to ensure that the military activities around the nuclear power plants do not lead to a new disaster on our planet.”

Ekho Moskvy (RU) /

Avoid a humanitarian catastrophe

The only topic up for negotiation is humanitarian issues, commentator Anton Orech writes in Echo of Moscow:

“One subject for negotiation where something can be achieved in real terms is exchanges of those who have been killed, wounded or taken prisoner. So far our defence ministry has said nothing about prisoners, but it cannot be that after a week of fighting no one is in enemy hands. Nor are we blind - there are more than enough videos on the Internet. In addition, both sides are now talking about a humanitarian disaster in the besieged cities. This urgently needs to be resolved! So the only point of holding negotiations is humanitarian aspects. How the two sides could agree on other things, I cannot imagine.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Do not humiliate Putin

Now of all times the international community must keep a cool head, Avvenire warns:

“The Kremlin leader has miscalculated. He has been weakened by the resistance of the Ukrainians, the reaction of the West, the solidarity of billions of people and the mechanisms of global communication. It would be a mistake to allow ourselves to be drawn into the vortex of an escalation now, because a total victory (as in the Second World War) against a nuclear power is not possible. As John M. Keynes pointed out after the First World War, the humiliation of an opponent who has not been completely defeated has disastrous effects, and paved the way for the emergence of Nazi fascism. Any increase in the spiral of aggression on the West's part will mean walking a very fine and dangerous line.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Trapped dictators are dangerous

Putin has lost his way, columnist Bert Wagendorp writes in De Volkskrant:

“Body bags containing the corpses of young Russian men are now being transported back to their motherland - that's no way to make friends. Perhaps Vladimir Vladimirovich is indeed fighting a battle that has already been lost. But will he ever realise that? How many more people must die? Must Kyiv first be turned into a huge Grozny? When will the Russian economy be ruined enough? Putin set a trap but fell into it himself, and now there's no going back. That's dangerous: dictators who sense impending defeat have a tendency to lash out in all directions.”