Ukraine: what should come next?


One year after Russia engulfed the whole of Ukraine in war there is no sign of the fighting coming to an end. On the contrary, observers fear that after months of Ukraine successfully defending itself, a new major Russian offensive is on the way. Europe’s press discusses what needs to be done to move closer to a desirable outcome.


The Irish Times (IE) /

Mistakes of 1938 must not be repeated

The West’s support for Ukraine must be unwavering, columnist Michael McDowell stresses in The Irish Times:

“If that war ends by tearing up the foundations of the world order it will be the harbinger of many more wars. ... Rewarding Putin’s use of invasion, war crime, assassination, corruption, subversion and repression is morally the same as abandoning Czechoslovakia in 1938. The consequences for humanity are not to be underestimated. Yes, we are paying a price for resisting Putin. But there is a far greater price for not doing so.”

Michael McDowell
Ethnos (GR) /

Recognition of new borders highly problematic

Konstantinos Tsitselikis, a professor of international law, outlines the following scenario in Ethnos:

“Assuming Russia were to win militarily and Ukraine capitulated by accepting the victor’s terms, what would the position of the Western states be? It would of course not be possible for them to recognise new borders achieved through the illegal use of force. ... Would territorial zones of sovereignty be created which are recognised by some states and not by others? Imagine the Cyprus impasse, only far bigger and more complex. And finally, the possibility of Ukraine joining the EU could not even be discussed if its territory was contested to such an extent.”

Konstantinos Tsitselikis
La Repubblica (IT) /

Ukraine must join Nato and the EU

Real prospects of accession could help to end the war more quickly, historian Timothy Garton Ash argues in La Repubblica:

“The only way to get to a strong, free, prosperous Ukraine is for European powers such as Britain, Poland, Germany and France to join the US in bridging the gap between the end of hostilities and the country’s eventual full membership in the two key institutions of the West. By the same token, only that commitment would give the West the standing to privately encourage Ukraine to make any painful compromise that might be needed — at least for the time being — to end the war this year with a clear Ukrainian victory.”

Timothy Garton Ash
Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Non-aligned states must be convinced

Russia’s attack has united the West, Jyllands-Posten notes, adding that now more countries should be brought on board:

“There is no alternative to making sure that Ukraine survives. There is no alternative to making sure that Putin loses. All over the West this has been understood. The glaring problem is that many non-aligned countries, including major powers like India and Brazil, have not yet chosen sides. This is sad because it reinforces the impression that it is the West against the rest. But that will change if the fortunes of war change. ... The last doubters must be given a final push to get on the right side of history.”

Slate (FR) /

Time to abolish UN veto powers

The UN must reform itself to make peace possible, Slate believes:

“For the UN to be more effective in promoting peace, it urgently needs to suspend or even abolish its paralysing veto powers. The five states that are considered the victors of the Second World War hold this privilege, which appears increasingly anachronistic and unjustified today. ... This has prevented the UN from taking concrete action in Syria, for example. ... Today, a year after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it is clear that the UN must be revitalised so that it can play its indispensable peacemaking role effectively. This debate has been going on for a long time. Will the Ukrainian tragedy move it forward?”

Chloé Maurel