The Russian army is still in front of Kyiv, the spearheads want to encircle the city of over a million inhabitants and then conquer it in a house-to-house fight. “Russia has not managed to create facts quickly. This means that there will be prolonged fighting at the expense of the civilian population. The war could last for weeks and months,” said Chief of Staff Robert Brieger in an interview with APA.
The “high willingness to defend among the Ukrainians” is astonishing. At the same time, there are apparently “moral deficits” among the Russians. “The most dangerous thing, apart from the economic upheaval, is the risk of an escalation that will have unforeseeable consequences.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has maneuvered himself into a position from which he can no longer get out without visible success. The most obvious development is therefore that the Russians will try to take the capital and bring it under their control with the massive use of heavy weapons and at the expense of massive collateral damage.
In this extremely bad situation for the Kremlin, there could be a further escalation, Brieger warns: “What I would not categorically rule out is the use of tactical nuclear weapons or at least the threat of them if the attackers do not achieve their goals for a long time.” It is to be hoped that it does not come to that. He assumes a certain level of common sense in the Russian leadership, “but I wouldn’t put my hand in the fire on this point,” said the chief of staff.
Tactical nuclear weapons (also called battlefield nuclear weapons) are intended to be used in a manner similar to conventional weapons to combat enemy forces. Their sphere of action and the explosive power are significantly lower than with strategic weapons.
The Chief of Staff also uses the interview for a statement on the rearmament of the federal army: “The deceptive assessment after the Cold War that there would be no more conventional wars has been belied on the beam and now to an even greater extent. Many European armed forces begin extensive rearmament. As far as the federal army is concerned, the planned increase in the military budget is one of the few positive aspects of this crisis. The war was a wake-up call for Europe in terms of security policy. European decision-makers have realized that more strategic self-sufficiency, capable armed forces and credible responses are needed.”