The future of Ukraine: what is realistic?

During Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to Washington, US President Joe Biden expressed doubts regarding the financial aid blocked by the Republicans. In addition, he said the US would give Ukraine military support "as long as we can" rather than "for as long as necessary", which had been the stance up to now. In view of the deadlocked war situation, more voices in Europe's press are also casting about for new strategies for Kyiv and its partners.

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Jutarnji list (HR) /

Switch to defensive warfare likely

The US is urging Kyiv to fundamentally change its strategy, Jutarnji list notes:

“According to the New York Times, the US and Ukrainian commanders are looking for a new strategy in the war against Russia, one which Ukraine is to implement as early as the start of 2024. The US is proposing - even insisting - that Ukraine focus more on defence instead of attempting to recapture lost territory, which means the new, already announced counter-offensive once the snow melts in spring 2024 is in doubt. ... The US believes that in the current situation neither side can win, and that for that reason the current priority must be to ensure that Ukraine does not put itself in a position to lose the war.”

LRT (LT) /

Nato troops to the front line

The most effective means of stopping Russia probably has no chance in the political context, laments Vytautas Bruveris, editor-in-chief of the Elta news agency, in LRT:

“Basically, the only option is to send Nato troops into the territory controlled by Ukraine and give it the guarantees of Nato's Article 5. This would confront the Russian regime with the fact that a further step forward would mean a direct confrontation with the Alliance and its major powers. Is such a breakthrough in the West's political will to be expected? Most likely, the answer is no. ... We can only hope that Ukraine has the strength to survive this critical phase, even if it will probably lead to further territorial losses.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Time for negotiations

Better a bad peace than an endless war of attrition, Der Standard believes:

“If there is no benefit in continuing the fighting, then negotiations on a ceasefire or even a peace treaty in which Ukraine relinquishes part of its territory are an obvious option. This would be contrary to international law and morally repugnant, but better than an endless war of attrition. Given the immobility of the front, there is a clear line on which both sides could at least tacitly agree: the east and south would remain in Russia's hands, but most of the country would be independent and spared from Russian missiles.”

Tygodnik Powszechny (PL) /

Defeat more costly than support

For Tygodnik Powszechny, letting fatigue with the situation in Ukraine gain the upper hand would be fatally short-sighted:

“In any scenario of a Ukrainian defeat, the consequences for the EU would be catastrophic. And incomparably more difficult to handle - not only in material terms - than the efforts that Europe is currently making to support Ukraine. So far this help has been modest in comparison to what Germany or France, for example, could do if they were willing to. Only the countries on the EU's eastern flank have made considerable efforts, including Poland, which has handed over a third of its military resources (albeit also in its own interest). Meanwhile, politicians in the EU give the impression that they do not realise just how dramatic the current juncture is. ... Poland's new government is being thrown in at the deep end.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Moscow's demands make negotiations impossible

Russia's conditions are outrageous, observes Večernji list:

“Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zaharova is making no bones about what Russia wants - the complete capitulation of the Ukrainian army and a halt to the supply of Western weapons to Kyiv. ... What's more, Zaharova demands that for lasting peace Ukraine must hand over all Western weapons already delivered to Moscow or return them to the West under Russian supervision. In addition, before entering into negotiations, Ukraine must 'recognise the new territorial realities' and 'withdraw from Russian territory', which in practice means that the Ukrainians would have to withdraw from those areas of the four illegally annexed Ukrainian regions that are still under Ukrainian control.”