Ukraine: escalation in the run-up to 9 May?

Russian troops are continuing their attacks in eastern Ukraine. Despite a brief ceasefire to evacuate civilians from Mariupol, concerns are growing about Putin's course of action in the run-up to the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany on 9 May. Commentators weigh up different scenarios.

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Denník N (SK) /

Putin under pressure

Putin will have his army ramp up its attacks so he has something to show off on the anniversary of the victory over Hitler's Germany, Denník N fears:

“May 9 is rapidly approaching. In a week's time the success of the 'special operation' is to be celebrated in Moscow. The intensity of the Russian attacks in the Donbass is increasing, the air force is destroying Ukrainian military installations, missiles are laying waste to the airport in Odessa. The death toll is rising. ... Ukraine is defending itself heroically and effectively. What's more, it cannot be ruled out that Russia, in pursuit of victory or the impression of victory, will decide to resort to even more drastic solutions.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Bad omen for the Russian offensive

Gazeta Wyborcza does not expect a triumphal march in Russia on 9 May:

“Dozens of officers, including General Andrei Simonov, are reported to have been killed in a Ukrainian artillery attack on a Russian command post. According to unconfirmed reports, General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, was wounded. ... The fact that such an important commander could be put out of action and a group of Russian staff officers killed and as a result of Ukrainian shelling is a bad omen for the Russian offensive in the Donbass. Western pundits speculated that by 9 May, Russian Victory Day, Putin would have pushed the Ukrainians out of the region and proclaimed his victory. At this point such a scenario does not seem likely.” (UA) /

Victory with US weapons

The US decision to provide Ukraine with weapons quickly and with minimum red tape through a revived version of the WWII Lend-Lease Act opens up the possibility of a Ukrainian victory against Russia, Yuri Butussov, editor-in-chief of, comments on

“As soon as the Act comes into force it means that Ukraine will receive free unlimited US weapons and supplies to defeat the Russian army as quickly as possible. ... The acceptance of the US lend-lease deal and Nato supplies will mean that Ukraine will not stop and there will be no compromise. The complete liberation of the Donbass and Crimea will be ensured by massive strikes with the most modern Nato combat equipment, against which the Russian army can do nothing.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

All sides must keep peace on the agenda

All sides should continue to seek peace, urges The Irish Times:

“It is important that a negotiated outcome remains on the international agenda and hope of any alternative to a military solution must not be abandoned. The outlines of a peace agreement are disputed but any settlement must deal with Ukraine's security and territory and the future of sanctions against Russia. ... Revulsion at the atrocities committed by Russian forces in Bucha and Mariupol will make it hard for the EU and the US to unwind the sanctions they have imposed on Putin and his country. But as we know well on this island, making peace often involves unsavoury moral compromises that can see justice sacrificed to save lives.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Find strategies to maintain hope

The flood of grim news must not cause us to despair, warns author Emma Riverola in El Periódico de Catalunya:

“It is impossible to process the information without getting a knot in your stomach. There is no sign of the war in Ukraine ending and the nuclear threat cannot be ruled out. Nothing can when it comes to Putin. ... The use of anxiolytics and antidepressants has spiked. ... Even so, it is crucial to evoke hope. In pragmatism as well as idealism. From the recognition of a multitude of gestures, initiatives and proposals seeking to make small changes for the better to the need to create new forms of utopian solidarity. ... The uncertainty is so widespread and weighs so heavily that we cannot look it squarely in the face. Let us look down. And upwards.”