Uniformed agents from numerous Western countries stare at laptops in a large shielded room full of provisionally laid data cables. Many languages overlap as they liaise with their respective high commands and with the Ukrainian government. According to reports by several US media outlets who recently gained access to the US Patch Barracks installation on the outskirts of Stuttgart, in southwestern Germany, the United States and its allies are coordinating the delivery of military aid to Ukraine from this room. And it is believed that this could force a turning point in the war in the coming weeks.
Located close to the airport and the highway, the barracks is home to the United States Army’s European Command (EUCOM). On 1 July, EUCOM was placed under the command of US General Christopher G. Cavoli. Born in 1964 into an American military family stationed in Würzburg, southern Germany, he holds an MA in Russian and Eastern European Studies from Yale University.
General Cavoli, who heads EUCOM, is an expert on Russia and Eastern Europe
EUCOM’s hastily established Ukraine Control Center/International Donor Coordination Center (ECCU/IDCC) receives a steady stream of procurement needs from the Ukrainian military. The starting point for this was the Ukrainian donor conference convened by the United States on April 26 at their Ramstein Air Force base in Germany. More than 50 countries are now supporting Ukraine with US-led arms shipments, according to US officials. They have also been coordinating politically in Ukraine for months. Defense Contact Group: deciding which country should deliver which weapons to Ukraine, and determining the route that heavy weapons, such as the American HIMARS missile systems or the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers, supplied by Germany and the Netherlands, will take. to reach the Ukrainian front.
Weapons are coordinated by EUCOM from the US Patch Barracks near Stuttgart
‘War is changing’
This aid may have brought about a turning point in the war, says Nico Lange of the Christian Democrats. “The crucial aspect of the past few days is that Russia is now being forced to respond to the statements and actions of the Ukrainians,” Lange, who had served as chief of staff to former Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, told TUSEN. “Until now it was the other way around: the Ukrainians were forced to react to everything Russia did.”
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told TUSEN that targeted HIMARS shelling of Russian military munitions depots and commando units has enabled Ukraine to increase its area bombardment — in the east and south of the country, at least — by a factor of five to six to reduce. .”
Lange said: “Russia has now moved significant troops south, both towards Kherson and Zaporizhzhya, to bolster its presence there and focus on securing and holding the conquered areas.” Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, near Zaporizhzhya on the Dnieper River, is occupied by Russian forces, and a British Defense Ministry intelligence report says Russian units are using the nuclear power plant and the area around it for protection.
In early August, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency reiterated his urgent demand that Russian troops allow the IAEA access to the facility for inspection and repair.
“From this you can see that the war is changing,” Lange said, “and that Russia is now being forced to respond to the things Ukraine is doing.” Russia is incapable of “escalating indefinitely,” he said — and is, in fact, in “huge” military difficulties. “The Russians have been on the defensive both north of Kharkov and in Kherson to the south,” he said. “They make it clear that they are determined to preserve this territory.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been promising a counter-offensive in the south for weeks. “A Ukrainian attack will not resemble that of the Russians: this rolling barrage that destroys everything in its path,” Lange said. “On the contrary, it will also rely on partisans, on uprisings in the occupied cities, on mobile operations behind enemy lines.”
More and more leaflets of the Russian-occupied city of Kherson are appearing on social media, with posters warning the occupiers: “We know all your patrol routes,” they read. And: “Kherson is Ukrainian.”
“The Russians have big problems controlling these areas,” Lange said. “There is a lot of partisan activity in the occupied part of the Zaporizhia Oblast. At night, Russian patrols are killed. Also in Melitopol, as in Kherson, there are posters directed against the Russian occupiers, there are pamphlets. There is something new about it hand hung constantly.”
The Ukrainian governor of the largely Russian-occupied Luhansk region recently tweeted about an attack by partisans in Bilovodsk district. Ukrainian partisans allegedly shot and wounded the Russian-appointed mayor and his deputy. Since then, the governor said, the Russians had failed to search for the Ukrainian resistance fighters. Such information cannot be independently verified.
What is surprising here is the location of the incident. Bilovodsk is located deep in the Russian-occupied Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, just 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the border, north of what was previously known as the “line of contact.” From 2014 until the start of the Russian invasion in February this year, the line of contact separated the occupied territory in Luhansk and Donetsk from the Ukrainian-controlled parts of the region. The regional governor’s tweet can therefore also be interpreted as a signal to Western supporters that the partisan struggle is gaining momentum – even in the outer areas.
This area is beyond the range of the M31 missiles that the US has so far supplied for the HIMARS missile launcher. The M31 has a maximum range of 84 kilometers. However, these artillery systems are also capable of firing ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) missiles, with a range of 300 kilometers. Ukraine asks the Western Contact Group and its operations center at EUCOM in Stuttgart to also send ATACMS missiles. The US has so far resisted this, because with these missiles the Ukrainian army could also fire on Russian territory.
In recent months, the willingness to provide Ukraine with smarter weapon systems has increased. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said it felt like aspiring to the next level “in a video game”. Unlike in a game, he said, the Ukrainian soldiers killed on the front lines only had one life.