According to the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Russia's President Vladimir Putin would be able to mobilize up to a million more soldiers for his war against Ukraine. "Last fall, around 300,000 people were mobilized and recruited, some of whom are still being trained, some of whom have already been introduced to combat," BND boss Bruno Kahl told the editorial network Germany. "The further mobilization potential of Russia is a reservoir of up to a million men, if this is deemed necessary in the Kremlin."
A year after the beginning of the war, Kahl sees no willingness to negotiate on the Russian side. When asked whether he saw any will on the part of Putin to make peace, the BND boss said: "Not at all. At the moment it's about looking for a 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."
The defense of the country by the Ukrainian army against the Russians, who outnumber the Russians, is still very effective, explained the BND boss, whose foreign intelligence service employs around 6,500 people. "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 ."