NATO-Oberbefehlshaber: „Russland stärker, tödlicher, wütender“ als zu Beginn des Kriegs gegen die Ukraine

Der NATO-Oberkommandierende in Europa und zugleich des US-Europakommandos, der US-General Christopher Cavoli, hat in seinem jährlichen Rechenschaftsbericht für den Verteidigungsausschuss des US-Repräsentantenhauses ein nüchternes, eher bestürzendes Bild der sicherheitspolitischen Lage in Europa gezeichnet. Trotz der Verluste im Krieg gegen die Ukraine seien die russischen Streitkräfte nicht geschwächt – und die Ukraine angesichts fehlender Waffen- und Munitionslieferungen in einer gefährlichen Situation.

Der Krieg in der Ukraine ist nach den Worten des Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) der NATO nur ein Teil eines langfristigen Russland-Problems. Aus Cavolis 2024 Posture Statement to Congress am (gestrigen) Mittwoch fürs Archiv hier nachgetragen einige zentrale Aussagen:

Russlands Fähigkeiten

Russia remains a capable threat beyond Ukraine, and it’s necessary to examine what has and has not happened to the Russian military in Ukraine. Russia poses the most stressing nuclear, biological, and chemical threat in the near-term and will continue to retain WMD capabilities in the medium and long term. First and foremost, Russia’s nuclear forces have been unaffected by the conflict, and Russia retains the largest arsenal of deployed and non-deployed nuclear weapons in the world. These continue to present an existential threat to the U.S. homeland, our Allies, and our partners. Additionally, Russia continues to modernize its nuclear forces, and continues to pursue efforts to develop nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile systems, nuclear-armed hypersonic boost glide vehicles, nuclear-powered cruise missiles, nuclear-powered underwater drones, anti-satellite weapons, and orbital nuclear weapons.
 Moreover, during this conflict Russia’s strategic forces, long range aviation, cyber capabilities, space capabilities, and capabilities in the electromagnetic spectrum have lost no capacity at all. The air force has lost some aircraft, but only about 10% of their fleet. The navy has suffered significantly in the Black Sea – but nowhere else and Russian naval activity worldwide is at a significant peak. Russian long range precision fires have increased in production, and Russia has also begun to buy ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and long-range drones from third countries who were previously outside this fight. In fact, it is mainly only in the  land forces that Russia has suffered, losing over 2,000 tanks and 315,000 soldiers wounded or dead. However, Russia is reconstituting that force far faster than our initial estimates
 suggested. The army is actually now larger – by 15 percent – than it was when it invaded Ukraine. Over the past year, Russia increased its front line troop strength from 360,000 to 470,000. Russia’s army increased the upper age limit for conscription from 27 to 30, which increases the pool of available military conscripts by 2 million for years to come. Russia has announced plans to pursue an ambitious ground forces restructure, increasing to 1.5 million personnel with an expanded footprint. This restructure includes plans to transform seven motorized rifle brigades into divisions and a new army corps. Russia plans to base some of  these new formations in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, as well as Karelia in the High North, opposite Finland. Perhaps most concerning, the Russian military in the past year has shown an accelerating ability to learn and adapt to battlefield challenges both tactically and technologically, and has become a learning organization that little resembles the chaotic force that invaded Ukraine two years ago. (…)
In sum, Russia is on track to command the largest military on the continent and a defense industrial complex capable of generating substantial amounts of ammunition and materiel in support of large scale combat operations. Regardless of the outcome of the war in Ukraine, Russia will be larger, more lethal, and angrier with the West than when it invaded.

Lage der Ukraine

With the help of the United States, and invaluable help from other allies and partners, Ukraine has inflicted significant damage upon the Russian military. However, Russia relies on the mass and quantity available to a large country, and despite its military’s evident deficiencies and dysfunctions, continues to pose an existential threat to Ukraine. Ukraine cannot sustain this fight alone. The United States, our allies, and partners must continue to provide Ukraine with munitions, weapons, and materiel.

Offensichtlich auf Nachfragen – und im vorbereiteten Statement nicht enthalten – präzisierte Cavoli die drängenden Probleme der Ukraine, wie aus Medienberichten hervorgeht:

Ukrainian troops have been rationing ammunition as Russian forces outfire them at a rate of about 5-to-1, he told the committee.
“That will immediately go to 10-to-1 in a matter of weeks. We are not talking about months. We are not talking hypothetically…. We are talking about weeks,” Cavoli said.

Das Statement mit etlichen anderen Schwerpunkten hier zum Nachlesen, und als Sicherungskopie:

(Foto: U.S. Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander, U.S. European Command, and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, speaks with Allied service members at Military Training Area Lešť during visits to Slovakia and Slovenia March 26-28, 2024  – Courtesy photo by U.S. Embassy Bratislava)