A year after the start of the war, Kahl sees no willingness to negotiate on the part of Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin. When asked if he saw any will in Putin to make peace, the BND boss said: "Not at all. At the moment it's about looking for the decision on the battlefield and realizing as many advantages as possible there - and then perhaps at some point dictate a peace on his terms."
In many respects, the course of the war was completely different from what Moscow, Ukraine and the West had assumed, Kahl said. At first, Russia thought it could bring Ukraine under control "with a few precise military, more symbolic and demonstrative actions." That didn't work out and that gave the Ukrainians a great situational advantage. "It was only much later that the Russians managed to show off their quantitative strength on the battlefield."
Even now, the defense of the country by the Ukrainian army against the Russians, who outnumber the Russians, is still very effective, said the BND chief. "But in the long run this is a difficult argument, which will only be successful on the Ukrainian side if the support from the West is really very sustainable."
According to Kahl, Russia has now managed to stop surprise successes by the Ukrainians. "It's more of a trench war now, a very cruel, brutal war of attrition." Regarding the debate about a possible spring offensive by the Russian army, the BND boss said: "What is now being called an offensive is actually an intensification of what we are already seeing. In the Donbass, where the focus of the Russian attack is, more and more troops are being brought in ."