According to security expert Christian Mölling, the Ukrainian armed forces have overcome the initial difficulties in their counteroffensive and have good prospects of making faster progress. Mölling explained on Tuesday in the stern podcast “Ukraine – the situation” that clearing minefields meant that the troops now had more options. “Slowly but surely a positive cycle is developing for Ukraine,” said the research director of the German Council on Foreign Relations. Things are “progressing much faster now”. The Ukrainian infantry could take action against the occupation of the Russian positions. One consequence of the Ukrainians’ strengthened air defense is that the number and operational capabilities of Russian helicopters have decreased. “We are also making progress with regard to the destruction of Russian artillery,” said Mölling. All of this is “not a miracle,” but also a consequence of the material that is now available to the Ukrainians.

Mölling made it clear that he believes the reports from the battlefields are reliable and not just an attempt by Ukraine to counter the impatience in the West. “If you have carefully superimposed the sources, you get a reasonably clear picture of what is happening right now,” he emphasized. The past few months have also shown that there are reputable sources that together allow a reliable assessment of the war.

Differences, such as those between Ukraine and Romania over the question of whether Russian drones had landed on Romanian territory, did not change that. He spoke in favor of clarifying the facts here, which are often not immediately clear in war – but saw no reason to accuse Ukraine of manipulation.

At the same time, he called it “a dangerous situation” that Russia was attacking the Ukrainian Danube ports in the immediate vicinity of NATO member Romania. “It’s always about proportionality,” he emphasized. Therefore, if Romanian territory were to be hit, one had to ask: “Is it massive, is it permanent and is NATO the target?” This would change the nature of the conflict. “I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he added. “That doesn’t make sense from a Russian point of view.”

Rather, it is in Russia’s interest to improve its own position in the wheat delivery negotiations by attacking the infrastructure for grain exports. Russia’s control over exports is “a major political lever”.

From Mölling’s point of view, it is right to continue trying to find a compromise on the food issue. “This is not about Ukraine’s future,” he said. “This is about a sub-topic that massively affects the rest of the world.” It is a difficult trade-off to pursue a consistent policy towards Russia on the one hand, but at the same time to find a way to “liberate the rest of the world from Russia’s strangulation” on the grain issue.