Safety professional on Donbass: “Russia is already combating a conflict of annihilation”

Security expert for Donbass
Russia is really fighting a war of annihilation.

Written by Marco Schleichting

The war in Ukraine turned to the east of the country. Russia is fighting a war of extermination there. However, the victory of Ukraine in this conflict is not excluded, according to the opinion of the guests of the ARD talk show Maischberger.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had a completely different idea when he attacked Ukraine on February 24. Putin assumed a blitzkrieg. The war has so far lasted nearly three months. One unexpected ending. The war in Ukraine was once again a topic in ARD Maischberger’s programme. The discussion guests agree on one thing: This war could go on for a very long time. Because neither side is interested in peace negotiations at the moment.

Security expert Claudia Major cannot estimate how long the war in Ukraine will last or how it might end. Things are looking bad for Ukraine at the moment because Russia has just made small gains on the ground. But what you can see: “Russia is already fighting a war of annihilation.” The tactic currently used by Russia in the area around Luhansk and in the Donbass is the complete destruction of the area. “There is no regard for infrastructure, it is really just destruction, an attack without regard for casualties.”

The major cannot say what the current goal of the Russian army is. For a while it was assumed that the army wanted to unite with the Russian troops in Transnistria. But the military clearly does not have the strength to get there. In any case, Russia still wants to completely annihilate Ukraine. “I think the hope that the Russian army will be confined to Donbass and Crimea is an illusion,” Major says. The West has supported Ukraine and must continue to do so: with arms deliveries, financially and sanctions against Russia.

Claiming a clear purpose for war

Nicholas Bloom goes one step further. The political head of NTV and RTL asks Meichberger that Chancellor Olaf Schultz finally define a clear war objective as well as plan for the future. “What happens when the forehead collapses?” Bloom says.

CNN reporter Fredrik Bletgen, who has also worked for NTV and RTL for a long time, was in Ukraine just a few weeks ago. He accompanied both the Russian and Ukrainian armies. He adds that Ukrainian soldiers are confident that they will win the war. In Ukraine there is not only a classic army, but also a very important guerrilla component. In addition, many Ukrainians volunteered for the army, while many Russian soldiers were conscripted. The Russians also fought a war as in the 20th century, with some very old weapons. Blitgen reports on vehicles collapsing and howitzers that cannot be moved. Ukrainian soldiers are already well trained, and more training is being done, especially on heavy weapons. Most of the weapons that come mainly from the United States have not yet been used.

Blitgen: Ukraine will be able to launch a major offensive

Blitgen sees the situation in the Ukrainian army as very positive. He explains: Indeed, the Ukrainians in the Donbass are retreating. But in the Kharkiv region, they expelled the Russians, sometimes across the Russian border.” His conclusion: “Ukraine may be able to launch a major offensive in the next few weeks.”

Bletgen is disturbed by the reluctance to deliver arms from Germany. Because of this, he was often subjected to critical questions in Ukraine, he said. Refers to the discussion about Gepard tank shipments. “No one believes the Germans, who buy the best cars in the world, when they say: We supply Cheetah tanks, but we have no idea where to get the ammunition from. After all, we are the world champions in logistics.”

Claudia Major sees it similarly. “The question is how seriously we take support for Ukraine,” she says. “The question is in which Europe do we want to live?” The Bundestag decided to provide heavy weapons, and Ukraine now needed artillery, armored vehicles and anti-aircraft defenses to prevent Putin from winning the war.

“Of course, the army is not the only one,” Major concludes. It is a comprehensive package. But it will not succeed without the army.

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