Ukraine talk at Maybrit Illner: "Putin has never been under so much pressure as now"

After Russian President Putin ordered partial mobilization, he again threatened Western countries with the use of nuclear weapons.

Ukraine talk at Maybrit Illner: "Putin has never been under so much pressure as now"

After Russian President Putin ordered partial mobilization, he again threatened Western countries with the use of nuclear weapons. How dangerous could the war in Ukraine become? The guests discuss this on the talk show "Maybrit Illner".

The war in Ukraine has entered a new phase. The Ukrainian army has pushed back Russian attackers in parts of the country over the past four weeks. Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced partial mobilization. It is unclear how many soldiers are affected. Originally there was talk of 300,000, but according to Russian media it could be a million people who are to be drafted. On Thursday evening, the guests discussed the current war situation in Eastern Europe on the ZDF talk show "Maybrit Illner".

Rüdiger von Fritsch passes a devastating verdict. For the former ambassador in Moscow, one thing is clear: "Putin has never been under so much pressure as he is now." The Russian president is now also fighting for power in his own country.

Putin's current weakness could be an advantage, adds CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen. Putin's political weakness and Russia's military weakness could mean "that we come to a political solution, that diplomacy regulates things again instead of weapons." Putin's authority is crumbling, says Röttgen, referring to the demonstrations in Russia after the announcement of partial mobilization. This, in turn, is counterproductive. On the one hand, the soldiers could only be deployed in three to six months, and on the other hand, Putin had frightened his own people.

"The war is now reaching the kitchen tables in Russia," SPD leader Lars Klingbeil analyzes. The resistance of courageous Russians became visible with the demonstrations. Nevertheless, he is right: "We now have to carefully consider what we are doing."

For the military expert Carlo Masala another point is worth mentioning: The "ethnic Russians" are affected for the first time by the partial mobilization. So far, mostly soldiers who belonged to the ethnic minorities have fought in Ukraine. "If they fell, it didn't matter in the country."

The soldiers who would now be sent to the front would have to have previously done their military service and be experienced in combat. "You try to find 300,000 who meet these criteria - you can't do that." Masala believes that in the end, young and inexperienced soldiers will be sent to the front, who also lack materials such as clothing. He calls the partial mobilization an act of desperation more motivated by domestic politics. "Putin is sending a lot of cannon fodder to the front."

"The message 'Don't irritate us too much' is part of Russian propaganda," explains Rüdiger von Fritsch when Putin's nuclear weapons threat comes up. Fritsch speaks of the "murmurs about nuclear weapons". In the end, it's about weighing things up: "Does he do it or not?"

"Putin's speech hasn't increased the risk of nuclear weapons being used," analyzes defense expert Masala. Putin has threatened to take this step since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. Now he has noticed: "The entire deterrent tactic of the last seven months has fizzled out." The price for using nuclear weapons is extremely high for Putin. The speeches by the foreign ministers of China and India at the UN General Assembly showed that these countries would no longer stand by Putin after the use of nuclear weapons. "This means that Putin is doing what we in the West have not been able to do: the complete international isolation of Russia."

In four occupied regions, "referendums" are to decide on their accession to Russia. The Russian President could then interpret an attempt by the Ukrainian army to liberate these areas as an attack on Russia. "That's what's going on in Putin's head now," says SPD leader Klingbeil. No western country will recognize the results of the "referendums". Klingbeil: "We have to be very consistent. Ukraine has the right to defend itself. We have been doing everything we can to strengthen Ukraine since day one of the war. We are not impressed by Putin's threats. The occupied territories are not Russian Territories and they will never become Russian territories. We are very clear on that."

And Norbert Röttgen doesn't want to be impressed by the "referendums" either. For him it is clear: In the end, Ukraine must win the war and the war must not be worthwhile for Russia. "The war was not worth it for Putin at the moment when the status quo before the war was achieved. A large part of Ukraine would then have been destroyed, but nothing would be gained for Russia."

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