Ukraine is celebrating military successes in the east and south of its country and is able to reconquer large areas – also with the help of German weapons. Demands for more are already becoming louder. What the defenders now need for their offensive.
It’s day 201 in the Ukraine war. The world – minus pertinent well-known rogue states and despotically-run countries – publicly cheered the advance of the Ukrainian army in the east of their country.
“The liberation of settlements under Russian occupation in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions continues,” the Ukrainian General Staff said on Monday. A total of more than 20 towns have been recaptured within the last 24 hours.
According to a military spokeswoman, Ukrainian troops also recaptured around 500 square kilometers in the south, in the Cherson region. A success that surprised even the most profound local experts on this scale and speed.
But was that really the hoped-for turning point in the war over Ukraine, possibly the beginning of the end of the Russian occupation and thus of the military conflict?
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Military expert Carlo Masala from the Bundeswehr University in Munich describes the counter-offensive as an “important stage” in the Ukraine podcast from “Stern” and the “Audio Alliance”. “We will only see in the next few days and weeks whether it is the turning point.”
That now depends largely on whether the Russian army can stabilize its defense line and whether it can also supply its new position logistically. And of course also from further arms deliveries from the West.
In a statement, Ukraine cited the US’s Himars multiple rocket launcher artillery system as well as the Gepard anti-aircraft vehicle as a precursor to military successes.
“Germany has supplied a large number of very effective and heavy weapons, including the Gepard anti-aircraft tank,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had already announced when Ukrainian soldiers attended a training session on this weapon system at the Putlos military training area in Schleswig-Holstein at the end of August.
30 such tanks from old stocks of the armaments company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann were launched. Enough?
According to Masala, the next logical step if you want Ukraine to repeat this success would be to supply infantry fighting vehicles and main battle tanks. But is Germany ready for this?
Deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann made it clear on Monday in Berlin that the federal government is monitoring the military situation in Ukraine very closely. “And we see that the courage and determination of the Ukrainians in liberating their country has apparently led to progress being made here.”
You can also see “that the support that the Ukrainian military is receiving from friends and allies, including Germany, is apparently having an effect.” The federal government is determined to continue this support, which has so far also been provided with heavy weapons, artillery and air defense.
The deputy government spokeswoman did not give details of what this support would look like in concrete terms. At the weekend, demands for deliveries of Leopard 2 main battle tanks were raised.
Hoffmann said that the German side would of course accept it if Ukraine formulated its needs. “There is no question that Germany will continue to support Ukraine militarily in a very effective and effective manner, in close consultation with its allies.”
Military expert Carlo Masala considers timely export permits for the Marder infantry fighting vehicle from industrial stocks to be possible, “for the Leo it is an open question,” he said in the “stern” podcast.
In the traffic light coalition, the Greens and FDP in particular are pushing for the delivery of heavy weapons. “Everyone in the government knows, however, that more would be possible,” said Green Party leader Omid Nouripour in the “Augsburger Allgemeine”.
And the leader of the Liberals, Christian Lindner, tweeted: “One must salute the bravery of the Ukrainians. Every day we must see if we can do more to help them in this war.”
SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert, on the other hand, spoke out clearly against German tank deliveries for Ukraine on “n-tv”. He declared that Russia could act “irrationally” and attack other states.
Meanwhile, the Russian ambassador in Berlin, Sergei Netschajew, raised serious allegations against Germany.
“The mere delivery of lethal weapons to the Ukrainian regime, which are used not only against Russian soldiers but also against the civilian population in Donbass, is a ‘red line’ that the German government (…) should not have crossed,” Nechayev said in an interview with the Russian daily Izvestia on Monday.
Statements that sound like mockery, since the civilian population suffers primarily from the Russian aggressors. “The Russians practice sheer terror,” clarifies military expert Masala. Rockets fell in eastern Ukraine only a short time after the partial withdrawal of the Russian army.
Explosions, fires and a widespread power failure followed. Kyiv recognizes this as a targeted revenge on the part of Russia. “They retaliated against Ukraine’s military attack by beating civilians,” Masala said.