War in Ukraine: viable peace strategies?

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.

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Gość Niedzielny (PL) /

Still no lessons learned

The leaders of the strongest EU states are clearly dancing at two weddings, criticises Gość Niedzielny:

“On the one hand they officially condemn Russia's aggression, on the other hand the increasingly real prospect of a Ukrainian victory seems to frighten them. ... The pressure now being exerted on Ukrainians to surrender to the aggressor by countries that [in actual fact] support Ukraine should be a cause of concern not just for the Ukrainians. It shows that neither Paris, Berlin nor Rome have learned from their mistakes and that they still don't understand Russia. ... For Russia, even the smallest gain in this war will serve as an argument to start another.”

L'Opinion (FR) /

Many open questions

L'Opinion wonders how Europe would feel about a peace dictated by Russia:

“What if Moscow, after various threats, offers to stop on condition that Russia keeps a substantial part of Ukrainian territory? Will some Europeans say yes, leaving the Ukrainians and no doubt others in despair, for the sake of 'peace' or energy supplies, but giving a dangerous priority to faits accomplis? Another uncertainty arises from the Russian attitude itself. ... If the Kremlin gets off lightly, will we still be able to negotiate with it?”

To Vima (GR) /

EU should abandon hopeless approach

Commenting in To Vima, political scientist Panagiotis Ioakeimidis notes:

“The question is: will humanity sleepwalk into World War III or a protracted conflict in Europe? Now that the political landscape has become clearer with the re-election of Macron as president of France, Europe, or rather the European Union, should rethink its overall strategy. ... Its current approach seems rather hopeless, lacking any concrete, detailed European objective. It is probably following President Joe Biden's strategy. ... The starting point for these considerations can only be the assumption that the EU, from its conception, its genesis and its teleology, is first and foremost a peacemaking force.”

Visão (PT) /

Macron's shoddy appeasement policy

Visão questions the French president's impact:

“Macron is trying to find a way out for Putin that isn't humiliating for him, but which may entail territorial concessions from Ukraine. ... By bailing out Putin and his gang, Macron is weakening his country's position in Europe and Nato. Macron has distinguished himself by trying to avoid war, continuously putting pressure on Putin and helping the Ukrainians militarily. However, he has not been a decisive factor in any of these areas. Putin toyed with him and blatantly lied, and now Macron wants Putin to walk off with war booty that's not his to take. Macron is playing the same role vis-à-vis Putin that Chamberlain played vis-à-vis Hitler.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Dialogue with Russia essential for the future

Political scientist Charles A. Kupchan warns in La Stampa:

“Even if a new cold war is opening, dialogue will be even more important than it was during Cold War 1.0. In a more interdependent and globalized world, the West will need at least a measure of pragmatic cooperation with Moscow to tackle common challenges, such as negotiating arms control, arresting climate change, managing the cybersphere, and promoting global health. To that end, bringing the war to an expeditious close through a cease-fire and negotiated settlement is far preferable to either a war that drags on or a new frozen conflict that ends in a hostile stalemate.”