Russia continues offensive in eastern Ukraine

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.

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Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Putin still pursuing the same goal

Dagens Nyheter argues that Ukraine now needs even more weapons, and above all different ones:

“They are already on the way. The United States is sending howitzers and will train the Ukrainian military in how to use them. Washington also declared somewhat mysteriously on Wednesday that Ukraine now has more fighter jets than it did a fortnight ago. More are needed. Putin may have changed his strategy, but he has never denied that the overarching goal and purpose of the war is to restore the Russian sphere of influence. That has not changed. Plan B must also fail.”

Turun Sanomat (FI) /

It's all or nothing

How this war ends will decide Russia's future geopolitical ambitions, Turun Sanomat believes:

“In eastern Ukraine the struggle to establish a basis for peace negotiations has begun. ... Russia is very unlikely to end the war without concessions being made. And even if territorial cessions are not unthinkable for Ukraine, they will be very difficult politically, because Russia is being accused of war crimes. ... What's more, the steel and coal industry in eastern Ukraine are critical for the country's economy. The fate of eastern Ukraine will also determine the European security system. How and at what cost Russia gets out of this war will have consequences for Putin's superpower fantasies and his future ambitions as Finland's eastern neighbour.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

Will the new supplies arrive in time?

It's all down to staying power now, says De Telegraaf:

“The big question is about Russian morale. They haven't shown much in the way of fighting spirit so far, and the conscripts weren't exactly well trained or motivated; moreover, the leadership has made strategic mistakes. The Russians can only hope that they have worn down the Ukrainians. Another big question is whether Ukraine will have enough weapons and ammunition if the fighting drags out. ... Kyiv has undoubtedly received a lot more support from the West in the form of heavy weapons. But many of these are still in transit, and the question is whether they will arrive in time.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Deportations are part of Russian imperialism

Rzeczpospolita comments on the reports about the forced resettlement of Ukrainians to Russia:

“People were deported to Russia under the Czars, they were deported under Lenin and Stalin, and now they are being deported once more under Putin. Perhaps when the world sees what is happening with Ukrainians today, it will understand what every Polish child knows about the nature of Russian imperialism and its autocracy. The tragedy is that this is not about our past, but about the present, which our Ukrainians brothers are confronted with right now. ... So we must make all the more clear to the world what is happening in Ukraine. Especially because Russia's course of action in the occupied territories looks terrifyingly methodical.”

Profil (AT) /

Don't rely on a false peace

Accepting the loss of part of Ukraine is the wrong way to go, Profil warns:

“A widespread misconception is that the offensive by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine could mean that Putin would be satisfied with conquering the east of the country and that peace would then be possible. But what kind of peace would that be? Has anyone thought about the population of eastern Ukraine, the people of Mariupol, for example, who would have to live under the regime of the man who bombed their city and massacred their neighbours and relatives? Or will 'Ukrainian Ukrainians' be kept apart from Ukrainians of Russian origin, and the former allowed to move to the west of the country? Ethnic cleansing in Europe in 2022?”

Sabah (TR) /

Moscow has lost the initiative

Russia is no longer determining the course of events in the war, the pro-government daily Sabah writes:

“The strategic goal in a war is to destroy the opponent's will to fight. Russia thought this would be very easy to achieve, but it was not. It couldn't even besiege Kyiv, let alone conquer it. Far from bringing Zelensky down, it turned him into a hero. Since then the Russians have not been able to decide for themselves how this war will end. ... On the contrary, time is working against Russia because of the economic sanctions. Ukraine, on the other hand, is receiving more support every day. So from now on it will be better to focus on what the West and Zelensky are doing than on what Russia is doing. The Russians started this war, but they've lost the initiative.”

e-vestnik (BG) /

Putin has nothing to gain

Russia should learn from past experience and see that it is in its own interest to pull out of Ukraine as quickly as possible, writes e-vestnik:

“Even if Putin were to take Kyiv, he would have won nothing. He can't kill Zelensky or have him arrested, because he will have to sign a peace treaty with someone at some point. ... It's not possible to permanently occupy a huge country like Ukraine. ... Putin must understand that it is better for him to end the war as quickly as possible. There are already historical examples: Afghanistan (where Soviet troops were deployed [from 1979 on]), and Vietnam (where Russia provided weapons to the Vietnamese). These were not successful wars for the aggressor and they damaged Russia - economically, on the international front, domestically and socially.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Brussels needs a dual strategy

In addition to arms deliveries and economic sanctions, diplomatic channels must also be kept open, Der Standard stresses:

“The scenario today is that Putin will neither win nor lose the war. What remains is a frozen conflict, with the only way out being a return to diplomacy. Former SPD Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel calls that a 'cold peace': in the long run, tanks and missiles cannot replace foreign policy and diplomacy. So the EU must send Moscow a clear message: we are stepping up economic sanctions and arms deliveries, but we are also ready to talk about political solutions. The precondition is a ceasefire. The EU needs a realistic dual strategy.”

Delfi (LT) /

Tactical mistakes

There's no shortage of evidence for the weakness of the Russian army, Delfi scoffs:

“What were you planning to fight Nato with when you have to use long-range aviation forces even against a group of brave but exhausted Ukrainians who are resisting for the eighth week almost without food, water and ammunition? Bringing the Tu-22M3 long-range bombers into action against Azov was the second major tactical mistake and an even greater psychological victory for Ukraine against the Russian aggressor in one week. Perhaps also the third mistake, because with its childish lies about the sinking of the Moskva, Russia's General Staff is forcing Russians to relive the shame again and again.”