A RUSSIAN invasion of Europe is “more likely than ever” and Germany could be wiped off the map at any moment, a bombshell leaked report has warned.
Top military brass in Germany have urged the country to prepare itself for an impending war with Russia, amid fears the war in Ukraine will escalate into a global conflict with NATO.
6A German military chief has called for his country to prepare for warCredit: Reuters6Hundreds of new military vehicles will be procured under plans to overhaul the armyCredit: Getty6German troops will take part in more joint NATO missions in Eastern EuropeCredit: GettyIn confidential documents leaked to the German publication Der Spiegel, one of the country’s top generals Eberhard Zorn ordered the country’s army to put itself on a war footing in the face of “existential” threats.
The 68-page policy paper produced in late September is titled “Operational Guidelines for the Armed Forces”.
In it, General Zorn called for the complete overhaul of the German military, and to prepare itself for war.
“Attacks on Germany can potentially occur without warning and with great, possibly even existential, damage,” he wrote.
Germany’s armed forces, known as the Bundeswehr, has 183,638 active personnel as of February this year, and 949,000 reserve personnel.
This compares to the Russian army, which is reported to include around one million active troops and up to two million reserve personnel.
Although the modern German army has been involved in foreign conflicts such as Afghanistan, Zorn calls for the Bundeswehr to prepare itself “for an enforced war” on its own territory.
He warned that a war in a NATO member nation in Eastern Europe has “become more likely again,” and called on Germany to play a leading role in the continent’s defence, and create a more “robust” armed forces.
Instead of smalling smaller, specialised units on missions abroad, he demanded for large units that are ready at times to fight for NATO.
“Alliance defence, including the ability to provide visible and credible deterrence, will dominate Germany’s military action,” he said.
This would mark a drastic change in modern Germany’s military policy, which since the end of WWII has focussed on maintaining a small military, while having foreign military bases on its own soil.
The move comes after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a “turning point” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
Where Germany had before looked to maintain close relations with Russia – a remnant of its Cold War-era Ostpolitik policy – Scholz acknowledged that “war in Europe is a reality again”.
He also pledged 100 billion euros (£87bn) to bring the country’s military up to speed.
If we don’t jump fast, no army will move in EuropeReport
As part of a major stepping up of Germany’s military, it was announced that the Bundeswehr would buy 53 Airbus A400M transporter planes, Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, and several unmanned aerial vehicles.
It will also procure additional NH90 helicopters, 579 Puma infantry fighting vehicles, at least 503 Boxer multirole armoured fighting vehicles, and new warships and military submarines.
Germany is also looking to bring home most of its troops from Mali, where they were deployed as part of a UN stabilisation mission, as part of the reorganised Bundeswehr set out in the leaked documents.
The paper says that in the event of Russian aggression on NATO’s eastern border, Germany would have to provide “reactive and combative forces” and couldn’t wait for support from the US.
Zorn warns that neither the EU nor NATO can afford “to start planning and generating forces only after the attack has taken place”.
He goes on: “If we don’t jump fast, no army will move in Europe.”
6Russian troops in Ukraine – Germany has been told to prepare for invasionCredit: AP6The country has cut off many of its preexisting ties with RussiaCredit: Getty6German Chancellor Scholz pledged 100 billion euros (£87bn) extra military spendingCredit: GettyHowever, the leaking of the report may be a sign that German military chiefs have grown frustrated at what they see as a sluggish response by their government to earlier pledges of money.
“There is a war raging in Ukraine but procedures here are still running in peace-time mode, while inflation is eating up the money,” a defence manager told Reuters.
Another source claimed that Germany hadn’t yet replenished the ammunition that it had given to Ukraine, leaving its army hopelessly underequipped.
“Contracts for some ammunitions have been approved but that’s just a drop in the ocean compared to what we actually need,” they said.
Germany supplied Kyiv with 14 self-propelled howitzers and 13,500 rounds of artillery ammunition from its own inventories in the early days of the war, but reportedly they have not yet been replaced.
It comes after the German army accidentally issued uniforms for its soldiers with ‘SS’ labels.
The initials are believed to have stood for “small, short”, with a “production problem” blamed for the mistake.
German laws ban the display of any Nazi iconography, including the initials “SS”, often associated with Adolf Hitler’s evil Schutzstaffel, who orchestrated the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust.
The letters SS are even forbidden from car number plates in Germany, along with any other Nazi symbols.
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk