How the international media covered the Russian-Ukrainian war, April 21

Anton Semyzhenko

The Economist published an article about how Ukraine managed to sank the the Russian flagship “Moskva”. The ship was protected by three layers of air defence and yet, two “Neptune” anti-ship missiles had struck it. "Neptune" missiles, which Ukraine says it fired from a mobile launcher on land, fly low over water that makes it harder to detect them. The strike’s success appears to have been aided by smart tactics – apparently Ukraine used Bayraktar drones shortly before the attack to distract the crew and collect targeting information for the missiles.The sinking of the "Moskva" also reflects Russian shortcomings, including limited support from the rest of the fleet, due to underestimation of the Ukrainian threat. Now, it will be much harder for Kremlin to provide aird defense for it’s fleet and it might be the case that Ukraine will get more anti-ship missiles from their allies following this display of prowess.

Following Russian test of the nuclear-capable "Sarmat" missile, The New York Times column writes about growing worries among US officials on that Putin now has ilttle to lose and is becoming even more dangerous. The outlet cites one of the officials speaking privately: “We have been so successful in disconnecting Putin from the global system that he has even more incentive to disrupt it beyond Ukraine”. Putin still believes he can avoid true isolation, just as he did after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and he uses the nuclear threat to in his own words “provide food for thought for those who, in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country.” It seems Putin is in denial of the long-term consequences of the western sanctions imposed on Russia, that are going to become harsher as the national reserves will eventually come to an end. At the same time the “containment strategy” has its limits, and at some point the sanctions would stop having much influence.

A column of Foreign Affairs writes of the potential consequences of the long conflict should it be what is going to happen in Ukraine. After eight weeks of war it is highly possible that neither Russia nor Ukraine will achieve its goals and the war might not end for a while. According to the column, a lasting war might be a favorable outcome for Moscow and a terrible outcome for Ukraine. Ukraine might lose western attention and support due to shift in public opinion. To keep this attention sharp, West will need patient political leadership. Moreover, Kremlin has many reasons not to end the war that he has started: from Putin’s point of view, any peace agreement that doesn’t win major concessions from Ukraine would be out of proportion with the losses Russia has already suffered. Ukraine also has many reasons not to end the war through a premature cease-fire on Russian terms as it has a decent chance of settling the war on better terms than the unacceptably large concessions that Moscow currently wants from Kyiv.

Germany’s strategy towards Ukraine is no longer enough for country’s allies, writes Bloomberg. Following a call with the group of counterparts on Tuesday, Germany chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany didn’t have equipment to send Ukraine, questioned the ability of Kyiv’s military to operate modern weapons systems and insisted Berlin wouldn’t become directly involved in the war. Concerns have also been raised about Germany’s participation in energy sanctions. Scholz’s approach has received support from his cabinet, for example the finance Minister Christian Lindner told Bloomberg that Germany was “open” to supply weapons to Ukraine only “under the condition” that Germany’s defense responsibilities aren’t affected and the country doesn’t become an actor in the war. At the same time the pressure is growing and is unlikely to let up. The opposition CDU is calling for parliamentary debate on Germany’s Ukraine policy.