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German MP urges military to activate 900,000 reservists over Russia's belligerence

by Martin Fornusek June 1, 2024 12:26 PM 2 min read
Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann in Berlin, Germany, on Jan. 28, 2024. (Maryam Majd/Getty Images)
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The chair of the German parliament's defense committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, called on the country's armed forces to activate 900,000 German reservists in light of Russia's threatening policies, the DPA news agency reported on June 1.

Tensions between the West and Russia have been mounting since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The Kremlin has repeatedly issued threats toward Kyiv's partners over their support for the besieged country.

"(Russian President Vladimir) Putin is training his people for war and positioning them against the West. We must, therefore, become capable of defense as quickly as possible," Strack-Zimmermann, a member of the co-ruling Free Democratic Party (FDP), said in a comment for the Funke media group published on June 1.

The lawmaker called on the Bundeswehr, Germany's military, to "activate the roughly 900,000 reservists we have."

In Germany, reservists include all former military service members and soldiers who have served for an extended period of time, excluding former East German military members who did not join the Bundeswehr after the reunification in 1990.

"If we could recruit just half of them as reservists with their relevant expertise, that would be an incredible asset," Strack-Zimmermann said.

Russia's full-scale invasion marked a major shift in Germany's defense policy, leading to Berlin announcing an additional investment of 100 billion euros ($109 billion) in military spending.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said in February Germany will meet the 2% GDP defense spending target in 2024, making it the first time the country has reached this benchmark since the end of the Cold War.

Berlin has also become the second largest donor of military aid to Ukraine after the U.S. During his visit to Odesa earlier this week, Pistorius announced a new defense aid package worth 500 million euros (around $540 million), including IRIS-T air defense ammunition, drones, Leopard 1 tanks, and more.

Berlin says Ukraine can strike military targets inside Russia with German arms
Ukraine can use German-supplied weapons to strike legitimate military targets inside Russia, Deutsche Welle reported on May 31, citing a German government spokesperson.

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