Ukraine war: what next for Europe?

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.

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Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

Don't veer off course

Eesti Päevaleht calls for greater resolve in the fight against Putin:

“After US President Joe Biden said in Warsaw on Saturday about Vladimir Putin 'For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power', this triggered an embarrassing wave of apologies and criticism from politicians in the US and Europe. A month ago we rejoiced that politicians in Western Europe had finally understood that they had been wrong about Putin's Russia, and that the Baltics and Poland were right with their warnings. We rejoiced too soon - the explaining must continue. Biden has delivered a correct moral assessment on Putin. The only 'off ramp' for Putin must lead directly to the international court in the Hague.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

Putin hasn't lost yet

Adjusting the war aims to the realities could ensure the Kremlin chief's political survival, writes Handelsblatt:

“If Putin achieves a ceasefire that effectively takes a more or less sizeable chunk out of Ukraine, if he also gets Kyiv to give up the goal of Nato membership, as already offered - then he will have achieved two milestones of his great power dreams with his war of aggression, which will also help him to survive domestically. The fact that he has sacrificed thousands of human lives and ruined his country's economy for this goal may seem to us in the West to be an insanely high price. But in the logic of Vladimir Putin, this is not necessarily the case.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

A Marshall Plan for pro-Europeans in Russia

Bernard Guetta, journalist and MEP for the liberal Renew Europe group, calls on the EU to start thinking about the post-war period now in La Repubblica:

“The EU could also influence the development of its Russian neighbour by opening up unprecedented and tangible prospects for its new urban middle classes and for the large section of its ruling forces who no longer see a future in the North Korean model or in a head-to-head race with China. The Union must propose a common future to the Russians and outline it today in order to open up a horizon for them other than the long descent into hell into which Putin's defeat will invariably lead them.”

Star (TR) /

Turkey growing stronger

Turkey is benefiting politically from the war in Europe, comments the pro-government daily Star:

“Turkey's contribution to stability in the Caucasus and the Balkans is becoming even more obvious. The incidents that are happening today with our northern neighbours will have consequences for our domestic policy. The Turkish public believes the country has assumed a significant role in a multi-axis world, and has become a regional power. The risk of internal chaos being added to the chaos in our region would displease even the patriotic groups in our opposition. Turkey's strong, determined stance during this transition, which influences the global balance, is seen as an unmissable opportunity.”

Naftemporiki (GR) /

Mired in the horrors of war

Naftemporiki writes:

“One month after Vladimir Putin's attack on Ukraine, the people of Europe in particular are mired in the horrors of war. And what is worse, we know that a ceasefire is not likely, at least not for the time being. The Russian president refuses to admit that his plans have failed. Despite heavy losses he is now preparing the next attack, with new materials and fresh troops. The long war of attrition is likely to continue. ... At least until Moscow decides what means are to be used for the new offensive, and what its prospects of success are. ... At the same time the West is trying to work out how far Nato can go without risking a world war.”

Primorske novice (SI) /

Hard times ahead one way or another

Europe stands to lose a lot regardless of the outcome of future negotiations, Primorske novice writes:

“The main questions for negotiators will be what Ukrainians are willing to leave to the Russians, what reparations Putin is willing to make for his crimes so that he is not brought before an international tribunal, and how Russia will pay for the (purely) material damage it has inflicted on Ukraine. Regardless of the outcome, Europe will be the big loser in this crisis. In addition to the refugee burden, it will bear the burden of economic sanctions and more expensive energy. But the highest price will be the increase in defence spending. And the knowledge that a wounded bear is not far away.”

Observator Cultural (RO) /

Ukraine won't be enough for Putin

The Romanian weekly Observatorul Cultural suspects the Kremlin boss plans to invade other countries too:

“If we want an explanation for the attack on Ukraine, it is painfully simple: Vladimir Putin sees Ukraine as part of the Russian space, and in this space victims don't count, only the ultimate goal counts: the destruction of Ukraine as a state. Putin will not stop there, he will consider that other territories 'belong to him' and Russia, too. ... It may hit Moldova, or perhaps the Baltic states. He gave a signal for this during his appearance [last Friday] in the Moscow stadium. ... The situation is frightening: we are witnessing the demolition of all post-war agreements.”

Le Courrier (CH) /

Reform UN veto powers!

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council must stop blocking Kofi Annan's 2006 proposal to lift the veto on UN missions in conflicts involving crimes against humanity, former UN Special Rapporteur Jean Ziegler insists in Le Courrier:

“Because of the Russian veto there is not a single blue helmet on a negotiated ceasefire line in Ukraine, there are no humanitarian corridors under international control, and there is no ban on military aircraft flying over residential areas. None of the numerous instruments for ensuring collective security can be used by the international community. ... What hope is there? It lies in a revolt on the part of the peoples of the United Nations, and in their will to demand a radical reform of the Security Council.”