“A defeat that cannot be called that”, “Fiasco at the front and fireworks in Moscow”. “A turning point has come in Ukraine?”. “Now Putin is mobilizing everything, because he needs to prevent his collapse.” Under such headings, the German media describe and comment on the events of the past weekend in their print and online publications –the defeat of the Russian group of troops in the Kharkov region and the celebration against this background in Moscow of City Day with a big fireworks display.
“The Kremlin doesn’t know how to react”
“The Ukrainian army has proved in recent days that it is capable of using Western-supplied weapons intelligently and effectively. The collapse of the Russian front in the Kharkiv region is far from a victory, but it could become turning point in this war” writes the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
“Over the weekend,” the newspaper continues, “the Russian leadership tried to pretend that nothing significant had happened at the front. While Russian troops were surrendering one strategically important position after another, President Vladimir Putin opened a Ferris wheel in Moscow. the Kremlin does not seem to know how to react to such dramatic losses, but Putin will have to react.”
In doing so, he faces a dilemma, explains the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “If he wants to turn the tide by military means, he needs to send more forces to the front. To do this, he will have to abandon the line that until now has ensured support for the war on the part of his subjects: he tried to keep it away from their daily life. If Putin will opt for military escalation, Ukraine must be fully armed“, says the newspaper.
“If it turns out to be more important for Putin to ensure calm in the rear, the Ukrainians should have the means to take advantage of this chance to liberate the occupied territories,” the publication emphasizes. Thus, the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in any case considers it necessary to “rapidly expand support for Ukraine.”
“Beijing is unlikely to accept the use of nuclear weapons”
The economic newspaper Handelsblatt adheres to the same point of view. The publication states that Putin has become a victim of his own policies and propaganda. “The Russian army is not the super-powerful fighting force that many in the West were so afraid of. This army is the brainchild of Putin’s domination, corroded by the mafia corruption system he created, materially and morally drained of blood,” the publication concludes.
But this is where the big danger lies, the newspaper continues. “Putin cannot afford defeat in the war he started. To maintain his dominance, he will now have to exert all his strength. Russia is facing general mobilization, and Ukraine is facing a war of annihilation, in which Putin’s army will use all its arsenals,” Handelsblatt warns, and further notes that even a tactical nuclear strike cannot be ruled out.
But in this case, the newspaper believes, Russia’s alliance with China will come to an end, since “Beijing is unlikely to accept the use of nuclear weapons.” But the main thing is that Moscow would then be in danger of “direct confrontation with the West.” The best guarantee that Putin will not go to extreme measures, according to the publication, would be strong Western support for Ukraine.
“Putin cannot win an armed conflict with NATO, and he knows it. And if he now tries to buy time for his army with a toxic ceasefire proposal, the West should not fall for this trick,” warns Handelsblatt. And he comes to the conclusion: “Ukraine now needs even more Western weapons to defeat Putin.”
“General mobilization will stretch for several months”
The Tagesspiegel, a regional newspaper published in Berlin, is confident that Germany and the European Union could now “substantially” increase arms supplies to Ukraine. “The argument is becoming less and less convincing that in this case there will be a shortage in the arsenals of the Bundeswehr. Weapons manufacturers could supply from their own stocks. In addition, experts proceed from the fact that the Russian army, in the event of a defeat, will be incapable of combat for many years. the foreseeable future is the threat of a major land war in Europe, and the Western armies will be able to replenish their supplies in the meantime.”
The capital newspaper urges not to be afraid of the Kremlin’s response. Moscow can no longer threaten to turn off gas – its supplies are already fading away, and in military terms, Russia’s capabilities have been greatly reduced. “Even if the master of the Kremlin now officially declares martial law, the general mobilization will drag on for several months. In addition, observers doubt that it will be successful. After all, the Russian army now lacks officers and specialists to train soldiers. Too many of them died in Ukraine. In addition, there is a growing shortage of ammunition and equipment.”
In this situation, the Tagesspiegel concludes: “The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. The risks for the West with the expansion of its support are reduced, the likelihood of success is increasing. Therefore, now from Berlin to Washington, the motto should be “Full speed ahead!”.
“We will become a belligerent even more”
More reserved is another regional paper, the Allgemeine Zeitung from Mainz. “Perhaps there really is a chance to turn the tide in this war and inflict a well-deserved defeat on the aggressor in the Kremlin. The federal government will have to quickly decide whether it will also take the path of further escalation. If Germany supplies Ukraine with battle tanks, we will become an even more belligerent side. This should be taken into account by all those who now again can not wait to run ahead of the steam locomotive, “says the Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper from Mainz.