German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Russian President Vladimir Putin prepared for his war on Ukraine for at least a year before inciting it, and predicted Putin is likely to be able to maintain a drawn-out offensive for a “long time”.
Scholz made the comments in a interview with CBS News “Face the Nation” moderator and chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan at the NATO summit in Madrid. The war on Ukraine has now dragged on for more than four months, and Russia is using its firepower to make incremental gains. US intelligence estimates that Russia currently holds about 20% of the country, mostly in eastern Ukraine.
“When will Russia no longer have the ability to continue this fight? When will Putin run out of weapons, run out of funds? Or can this continue for years”, - Brennan asked Scholz.
“No one really knows”, Scholz replied, “but Putin’s lengthy planning suggests he’s prepared for a sustained war effort”.
“He has - he is perhaps the leader of a very great country with a lot of people living there, with a lot of means, and he is really doing this brutal war with - and he prepared for it [for] very long. I think the decision to- to do this war was taken one year before it started or possibly earlier because he prepared for it. And so, he will be able to continue with the war really a long time”, - Scholz said.