Germany’s Army Chief Alfons Mais
By M K Bhadrakumar
The Inspector of the Army, Lieutenant General Alfons Mais, gave an interview to the Handelsblatt. In it he complains about the state of the Bundeswehr and warns of the strength of Russia. “With its artillery superiority, the Russian army is apparently working its way forward kilometer by kilometer. This is a war of attrition and attrition that will raise the question of how long Ukraine can hold out,” he told Handelsblatt. The inspector of the army is happy about the special fund for the Bundeswehr, but he also urges caution. It will be a while before the money for projects is approved and is reflected in reality in better armaments and more personnel. He continues: “Even if the money is there now, the question remains how quickly Parliament will approve the specific projects and how quickly industry can deliver. Germany is not the only customer; the armed forces are currently being better equipped throughout Europe. It would be worth the sweat of the nobles to sit down and see who is actually doing what and who is going first. I’m sure the management of the Federal Ministry of Defense will raise this again and again in their talks at the relevant levels. But of course that’s not easy, because all nations understandably also have their own needs in mind. This approach is therefore still a very ambitious project.” You have to reckon with a period of five to eight years until the Bundeswehr is fully operational again. The state of the Bundeswehr is not particularly good at the moment, and the aid to Ukraine is weakening its ability to defend itself. In addition, the Bundeswehr must be operational enough to be able to react quickly on the eastern flank – especially in Lithuania.
“Russia has resources that are almost inexhaustible”
The Bundeswehr inspector also confirms that Russia is making progress in the Ukraine war. “After Russia failed in the first phase and was unable to take Kyiv, it has been regrouping its troops since the end of March, massing them in a smaller area and refocusing the offensive. With its artillery superiority, the Russian army is apparently working its way forward kilometer by kilometer. This is a war of attrition and attrition that will raise the question of how long Ukraine can hold out. I’m not only talking about material, but also about the personnel.” The inspector is surprised at the brutality of the war. He says: “It is evident that the augurs were wrong about the question of where warfare will develop. We don’t see cyberwar and surgical, high-tech dominated, ‘clean’ war. A dirty land war is raging in Ukraine, including brutal attacks against civilians, which I didn’t think we would have to see again in Europe. ”Russia started the war naively; the attack on Kyiv was a disaster. Nevertheless: “But I warn against underestimating Russia. Armies that have sailed close to defeat learn the fastest.” Since the country is an autocracy, the human losses suffered by the Russian army do not matter much. “The armed forces there are of course learning from the experience of the Ukraine war. The Russian army is getting stronger. And Russia has resources that are almost inexhaustible. In an autocratic system, the casualty rate among your own soldiers doesn’t seem to matter. The media have been brought into line, and public support is evidently still high. With us, that would probably not be conceivable.” The interview provoked violent reactions in Russia. Many Russian media picked up the interview, showing that the strength of the Russian army is not Kremlin propaganda but has been confirmed by German officials.