Putin’s war in Ukraine is dragging on, and the West’s unity in supporting the sovereign country is cracking. However, military experts like Carlo Masala warn Chancellor Scholz against negotiating with Putin now. “Scholz has to say that Putin has to lose the war,” he said in an interview with FOCUS Online.
Days after Russian troops fired the first rockets, grenades, and bullets into Ukraine, Vladimir Putin experienced the exact opposite of what he intended to achieve with his war.
Instead of dividing the West and paving the way for restoring the power structure of Europe before NATO’s eastward expansion, all western neighbors demonstratively closed their ranks. They even drew closer together than perhaps they had ever before in their history.
Hardly any other nation demonstrated this new unity as quickly as Germany. Only four days after the beginning of the war, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced a “turning point” in a special session of the Bundestag. 100 billion euros in special funds for the Bundeswehr, two percent of the gross domestic product for the defense budget. Quick help for Ukraine: that was the goal. From Germany, the EU and the entire West.
• The much-discussed oil embargo against Russia is blocked by the self-interests of Hungarian President Victor Orban and will probably only come into force in a milder form in the end. • In Turkey, the autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdogan throws a spanner in the works for NATO out of domestic power calculations. Specifically, it is about the admission of Sweden and Finland, which would limit Russia’s scope in the entire Baltic Sea. • The federal government in Berlin continues to arouse resentment because the delivery of heavy weapons to the Ukraine is – or still is – being delayed again.
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Looking for a solution with Putin now instead of demonstrating toughness would achieve one thing above all: strengthen Russia’s role in this war that violates international law.
• Also read: Ex-General Kujat praises Chancellor Scholz – How Putin is trying to win a decisive battle with “Frankenstein squads”.
Carlo Masala, a renowned military expert from the Bundeswehr University in Munich, also believes so. “Things are going well for Russia in Donbass at the moment. Large parts are under Russian control. Negotiations at this point would mean that Putin could cement part of his war aims.
“He would make control in the Donbass the status quo of the negotiations,” Masala explains to FOCUS Online. The expert warns urgently against serving Putin such a through ball: “A Russian withdrawal from the Donbass would then become a complete illusion.”
What matters now, according to Masala, is to demonstrate determination towards Russia and to make it clear that the West will fundamentally not accept such a land grab in a sovereign country that violates international law.
The fact that Putin is hoping for the West to become war-weary was shown by his recent blackmail attempt on the issue of wheat exports from Ukraine. If the West lifted supposed sanctions on Russian wheat and fertilizers, it would allow Ukrainian wheat to be exported to Africa. Wheat that does not belong to him, but to Ukraine. And all of this combined with the calculus that the West will give in if it can avoid a new famine and new streams of refugees in and out of Africa.
FOCUS Online expert Thomas Jäger emphasizes that high losses on the Russian side, declining combat effectiveness and supply problems have hit Putin’s army so hard that it has lost a third of its entire combat effectiveness.
Like Masala, he therefore considers it a top priority for the West to continue to support the Ukrainian troops with important weapons and thus push back Putin’s troops. Only in this way will the western community of states succeed in creating acceptable conditions for peace negotiations.