In the chancellor’s office, hopes that a quick ceasefire can be achieved with Vladimir Putin are fading and his recent attack on internal enemies is analyzed in detail, including the use of terms such as “purges”. Concerns are growing about increasing radicalisation, after all, he is the ruler of the world’s biggest nuclear power.
On Friday morning at 7:30 am German time, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) spoke with Putin for another hour.
[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen.]
“The foreign minister has urged the Russian president to reach a ceasefire as soon as possible, an improvement in the humanitarian situation and progress in the search for a diplomatic solution to the conflict,” his government spokesman said later.
The problem: The Russian president, on the other hand, is escalating his war in Ukraine, and instead of making diplomatic progress, the opposite appears to be happening.
It wasn’t just Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj’s stirring speech in the Bundestag that strengthened the German government’s understanding that more arms deliveries to kyiv might be needed to prevent a Russian victory and somehow stop Putin. It is a very fine line, because extending the war must be avoided at all costs.
Scholz in a dilemma: Can’t say what Germany is doing
Scholz has the problem that he doesn’t want to or can’t communicate much. In return, he puts up with bad press and accusations of not doing enough.
After it became known, for example, that the 5,000 helmets had been transported to Ukraine by bus, the federal government would no longer say anything about transport routes and other details, also because of concerns about Russian attacks on the deliveries. These usually arrive in western Ukraine via Poland, but apparently not in clearly identifiable military convoys.
A few days after the start of the war, Germany also announced that it would also deliver up to 2,700 “Strela” anti-aircraft missiles from GDR stocks, although not all of them are still operational.
Apparently these are now being delivered in pieces via secret routes and means of transport, the first units are said to be in Ukraine.
“I ask for your understanding that for security and information classification reasons, we cannot reveal more details about the deliveries,” emphasizes a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defense. However, some equipment has already been delivered to Ukraine.
Buy on the international arms market?
There is a clear determination to keep delivering: it is not true that Germany is not delivering anything, it is emphasized in government circles. Military expert Carlo Masala believes that the approach that Germany should buy more from the international arms market is correct. “Many of the things that the Ukrainians need now are not even in the Bundeswehr’s stock. Or if they are in stock, they cannot be delivered because the Bundeswehr will have nothing left.”
The US package is very interesting in this context. US President Joe Biden had announced more arms deliveries and military aid to Ukraine worth 800 million dollars (730 million euros). Including thousands of anti-tank weapons, 800 anti-aircraft missiles, grenade launchers and drones.
“There is a lot there that the Ukrainians need right now, for example, artillery detection radars, surface-to-air missiles to combat Russian planes.”
Attack near Lviv: a signal to the West?
In the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, an aircraft maintenance facility at the airport was bombed on Friday. “Several rockets fell on a factory where planes are repaired,” Mayor Andriy Sadovyj wrote on Facebook. The building was destroyed by bombing.
“Of course, that was a signal for the West not to get too involved in this conflict,” says Masala, a professor at the Bundeswehr University in Munich. Precisely because the place is so close to the Polish border. The sign read: “Stay out of the way, we can go further.”
Incidentally, Masala summed up the logic of the increased arms deliveries on Twitter: “The arms deliveries are prolonging the conflict. They allow the Ukrainian army to stop the Russian advance, even push it back, thus saving lives. No delivery of weapons shortens the conflict. The Russians would win it.”