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Friday June 21, 2024

Germany needs 75,000 more troops as Nato eyes Russia threat, Spiegel reports

By Reuters
June 08, 2024
Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr attend a swearing-in ceremony for new recruits in front of the Berlin House of Representatives, Abgeordnetenhaus, in Berlin, Germany, May 22, 2024. — Reuters
Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr attend a swearing-in ceremony for new recruits in front of the Berlin House of Representatives, Abgeordnetenhaus, in Berlin, Germany, May 22, 2024. — Reuters

BERLIN: Germany’s defence ministry believes it will need at least 75,000 additional troops to fulfil its Nato commitments as the alliance adapts to face what it sees as an increasingly hostile Russia, Spiegel magazine reported on Friday.

Calls for more troops could present another headache for the government, which is grappling with how to finance a surge in defence spending following Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine and has debated reintroducing some form of military service.

Nato leaders signed off last year on the first major defence plans since the Cold War ended, detailing how the military alliance would respond to a Russian attack.

The move signified a fundamental shift - Nato had seen no need to draw up such plans for decades, as it fought smaller wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and felt certain post-Soviet Russia no longer posed an existential threat.

Nato and national military planners have been translating the plans into concrete requirements, identifying shortages of troops, weapons and other equipment needed to defend against a Russian attack that could, according to the German military’s top brass, come as early as 2029.

Based on requirements, allies will have to negotiate which country will fill which capability gaps.

The requirements will include tougher targets to bolster air defences, long-range missile stocks and logistics capabilities, a European diplomat told Reuters.

After the Cold War, many Nato allies reduced the number of air defence units to reflect the assessment that they would have to deal only with a limited missile threat coming from countries such as Iran.