War in Ukraine, “Putin convinced he will win”. The rumor scares NATO

Russian President Vladimir Putin “will probably remain confident” in the possibility of “militarily defeating Ukraine”, at least in the east of the country, because “he is convinced that time is working in his favor”. The revelation was made by a NATO source in Brussels, while President Volodymyr Zelensky surprisingly joined the Atlantic Alliance’s defense ministry in recent days. The counter-offensive led by Kiev “in the last three months has seen incremental progress”, although “not without difficulties”. Ukraine’s counteroffensive “is not stagnant, even if it is not advancing as quickly as some would like.” The problem is that the Russians prepared themselves with robust defensive lines, dragon teeth (anti-tank obstacles) and, above all, “they fired a huge amount of mines”. No one, however, expected a lightning counteroffensive: “We knew it would last months.” In any case, according to the source, Ukraine has so far “recovered around 50% of the land occupied by the Russians in one year”. However, he warns, “it is very dangerous to underestimate Russia”, given that in Moscow “they managed to mobilize 300,000 men last year” and “have demonstrated that they are willing to bear many losses”. In the field, fighting continues and the news is that “in September hundreds of Wagner’s men were redeployed to Ukraine”, it is still unclear exactly who. Observations on the ground “indicate a concentration around Bakhmut, where his experience is invaluable”.

The war in Ukraine has now become a “war of attrition”, explains the head of NATO, in which logistics and production of the arms industry are increasingly important. One of the problems is the “huge” consumption of ammunition, on both sides. “Ukraine’s current consumption rate” of ammunition “is much higher than our production rate”, which puts the defense industry “in difficulty” and “is not sustainable in the long term”. That said, things are moving “in the right direction”, because several allies “placed large orders”, which allow industries to plan and invest. The production structure and logistics are increasingly important: «We are making investments, and it will take longer», but ammunition production «is increasing», which «allows us to replenish national stocks», depleted by support for Kiev, and also to “supply Ukraine”. Russia also “consumed a significant amount of arsenals” of ammunition, and the production rate of Russian industry “did not increase enough” to compensate for this. “It is also for this reason that air strikes” with missiles “have decreased” recently. For Western partners, the Ukrainians “are doing an incredible job”, so “we will continue to support them as long as necessary”. However, we must be aware that “no weapons system is a ‘silver bullet’. The key is that everything we donate is that we continue with maintenance” and assistance. The announcement of the supply of F16s from Denmark and the Netherlands to Kiev «is the most recent example». So far, allies have provided Ukraine with “enough equipment for more than eight combat brigades.”

Finally, NATO’s assessment is that Vladimir Putin “has not made any decision to use chemical weapons at this time”. And “so far we have seen no evidence of the use of chemical weapons” by Russia. It is also “very unlikely” that Moscow “will use atomic weapons in combat.” But the rhetoric used about the possible use of nuclear weapons “is irresponsible”.

Source: IL Tempo