The Ukrainian government praises the course of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz towards Russia, but is calling for a rapid increase in arms deliveries due to the difficult situation. “We are 100 percent convinced that he wants to go in a different direction in relations with Russia,” said Zelenskyy’s closest adviser, Mykhailo Podoliak, in an interview with the Tagesspiegel in Kyiv.
“If you see his actions and hear his statements, he wants a different policy. He seems ready to take on that leadership.”
In the Chancellorship of Angela Merkel (CDU), Germany was certain that Russia under Vladimir Putin could be a partner with whom one could get along. “Germany must now go in a different direction, understand what Russia is really like.” The fact is, “we need more weapons,” said Podoliak in the interview in the presidential palace in Kyiv.
This includes long-range artillery and multiple rocket launchers to destroy Russian logistics and supply depots. Second, you need more drones. “And third, anti-aircraft systems like the Iris-T system announced by Germany to better protect our cities from air attack. We need more of them just to protect five cities: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Mykolaiv and Odessa.”
In addition, more armored vehicles are needed in order to be able to advance more quickly into the areas controlled by Russia after setbacks, he stressed. So far, Scholz has primarily refused to supply German tanks to Ukraine, referring to the other NATO partners who would not supply Western-style tanks either. But the ring exchange business is also making little progress and is causing resentment in Poland in particular – the country had left many Soviet-design tanks to the Ukraine and should receive replacements from Germany, but the first Leopard tanks are not expected before April 2023.
Podoljak, who led negotiations with Russia on behalf of Ukraine, which were not continued because of the atrocities in Bucha, among other places, emphasizes that Russia would prefer to freeze the conflict; on the status quo for half a year to procure new weapons and bring new soldiers to the front. “And that the West is getting tired – then Russia would strike again with all its might,” Podoliak said.
“Ukraine’s counter-strategy is very simple: we must multiply our efforts in the shortest possible time to retake as much territory as possible, especially in the south. The more and the faster we get heavy weapons, the faster we can stop this war.” When asked what a victory for Ukraine means to him, the presidential adviser replied that Ukraine within the limits of independence from 1991 also concludes a reconquest of Donbass and Crimea.