The Chancellor has had to put up with quite a lot these days, weeks and months. The longer this goes on, the more difficult it will be to make the fundamentally level-headed attitude of Olaf Scholz understandable. Otherwise, it can quickly happen that it is taken for stubbornness, rigidity, even hubris, along the lines of: You all just don’t understand it, but I do.
The pressure mounts with this surging war, these horrific images of embattled towns, villages and even smaller towns suddenly becoming the scene of larger conflicts. Atavistic, one might say, barbaric. As before, when mere hills in the countryside were declared the Olympus of warfare, which is why they had to be taken at all costs, even if at terrible cost.
The Russian army has these losses, the figures vary between 33,000 and more than 50,000 dead soldiers – so far. No war in recent history has been like this. A cruel toll of blood already for the imperialist idea of the Kremlin ruler Vladimir Putin that he could create a Greater Russia, his kind of Soviet Union, which to have lost caused him great anger and sadness at the same time. And the older he gets, soon to be 70, the more violent he becomes.
But precisely because Putin and his henchmen have no shame – not a bit anymore – in losing people, weapons and military equipment on an unimaginable scale; and because they have changed their tactics, they are now constantly shelling everything with murderous artillery fire – which is why this is not without consequences. Logically, it can’t stay that way. On all sides.
Psychological warfare is one thing. Putin clearly wants to undermine the morale of the Ukrainians, as the former agent shows. And he’s gaining, shall we say, ground in that regard. On the other hand, the Ukrainian army has also suffered high material losses since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression. And by no means only that: Ukrainian soldiers die every day in the defensive battles, some say 50, some 100, nobody knows exactly, or wants to.
But what Brigadier General Volodymyr Karpenko wants to say is: “To date, as a result of active battles, we have an estimated 30 to 40, sometimes up to 50 percent losses in equipment.” 1,300 infantry fighting vehicles, 400 tanks and 700 artillery systems are said to have been lost. At least. A replacement is urgently needed.
This means that the Chancellor will have to put up with even more. With all prudence: what if the war turns around? Russia must not win, Ukraine must not lose – it doesn’t look like it at the moment.