"Is the West ready to support Ukraine? If so, then he needs to do more. If not, then he must say so. This miserable purgatory is currently only bringing more dead people," strategist and colonel Markus Reisner tells ARD
ARD: Will Ukraine lose the war?
Markus Reisner: Ukraine will lose the war if the West does not provide it with the necessary support. This is a war of attrition, resources are key, not morale. However, the mood in European capitals is bad: arms deliveries were thought to be sufficient. But that is not the case.
But the West has already delivered a lot, and continues to give and support. Is even more support even possible?
The existing production of weapons will not be able to deliver what is really needed. It takes more effort. And I don't want to use the term war economy here, but a greater effort is needed.
From a neutral perspective, the situation is serious. The West must understand this. Is he ready to support Ukraine? Then he has to do more. If he is not ready then he has to say so. This miserable purgatory currently brings only more dead, but no results.
The West understands that it will be more expensive but does not dare to tell its people that
About a year ago, you already criticized arms shipments as "too much for death, too little for life".
I said that relatively shortly after the start of the war. When it was clear that the Russians were beginning to recover from the shock of failure at the start. Even then, it was clear that all conditions were being created for a war of attrition. You can't fight a war of attrition along the way, you have to do your best.
Let's take the HIMARS system. Instead of the required 100 to 150 units, 38 have been delivered so far. Fighter planes could have been delivered earlier. The oldest version of ATACM is supplied, in small quantities. You can do more, but you are afraid of escalation.
Now the sober West realizes that it will all be much more expensive. But no one at this moment dares to convey this message to his people, for fear of encouraging the radicals.
The European Union has repeatedly stated that it will stand by Ukraine as long as necessary and support it in restoring the internationally recognized national borders of 1991, including Crimea and Donbass.
Then he must do what is necessary. Despite eleven packages of sanctions, the Russian military industry is increasingly able to adapt. And Russia is not isolated, but has enough support from the global south to be able to wage this war for a longer time.
Russia is said to produce two million artillery shells a year and, according to South Korean information, has received an additional million shells from North Korea since August. The EU, on the other hand, has failed to keep its promises and has delivered only 300.000 so far.
It seems that Europe has not recognized the seriousness of the situation. Why? Because it had to be connected with significant war-economic efforts. NATO itself says: The barrel is slowly emptying, and we don't have any more. Increasing production capacity takes years, not months. And Ukraine no longer has a functional military-industrial complex of the required scale.
The situation is worse than last year
The Ukrainian offensive did not bring the desired success. And the Ukrainians are currently unable to keep the Russians moving. Does this offer them the opportunity to develop strong defensive lines, like last year?
I think the situation is even worse than last year. Russia was then on the defensive for a long time, afraid of losing the occupied territories. That's why she started digging in. Ukraine then went on the offensive with the equipment it had, and it failed. After that, the Russian mood changed for the better. And now the Russians even believe that they can win over time.
A relatively new phenomenon are the so-called FPV-drones, i.e. unmanned aerial vehicles with explosive devices that are controlled via monitors or VR-glasses, i.e. with the help of which the pilots have a direct view of the opponent, almost like in a computer game. How do these systems change warfare?
The simultaneous use of thousands of drones creates a glass battlefield. Everyone knows what the others are doing. Attempts are now being made to darken this glass battlefield to allow the movement of the army. For that, the electromagnetic field must be overcome. But even here the Russians managed to expand their enormous dominance.
If you are wounded in the morning, you will die
What does this mean specifically for soldiers in the trenches?
It's hell. We are experiencing the pursuit of individuals. During the First World War you could still escape into the trenches if you weren't under direct machine gun fire. But on the glass battlefield, we can now use a drone to watch people die from a distance of two meters.
With a relatively inexpensive small drone, you can attack and kill individual people, but also destroy heavy military equipment such as battle tanks. You can fly into shelters and buildings.
Drones also have a direct impact on caring for the wounded. Here we have practically arrived in the 19th century, almost like in Napoleon's time, where lives were saved by amputations. We're not at the "Golden Hour" – after an hour you're in the hospital with a specialist. No. If you're wounded in the morning, you'll die, because they can't evacuate you. If you get hit in the evening, you're lucky, they can pull you out at night. The nearest medical facility will be limbs amputated to save life More than 100 years after the end of World War I. More than 200 years after the Napoleonic Wars.
Parallels with the Korean War - "eternal" armistice
How can this slaughterhouse be stopped? Russia does not want to negotiate - on the contrary...
That's the dilemma. There are many parallels with the situation in Korea. The Korean War was very dynamic at the beginning, and then came to a standstill. It then took two years and 473 days of negotiations to define the 18-page document that established the ceasefire that is still in effect today. The two countries are still at war. But that would mean that Ukraine would no longer exist within the borders as we know it. And the dilemma is that Russia will be even less willing to negotiate as soon as it notices that the West is on its knees.
And what should the countries of the European Union do now?
The good times are probably in the past for now. And we have to think about how to shape these new times. If we come to the conclusion that we are not ready to support Ukraine as much as necessary, then in my opinion we have to announce that and possibly start negotiations. But then Russia did exactly what it wanted with us, and it will continue to do what it wants. And that is the destruction of Ukraine.
Colonel Markus Reisner is an officer in the Austrian army, historian and board member of the Clausewitz Network for Strategic Studies. His explanations of the military situation in Ukraine became known to a wide audience through YouTube.
The interview was conducted by Rebeka Bart (Kiev) for the German public service ARD.