Germany should be ready for war in five years. Lieutenant General Carsten Breuer, Inspector General of the Federal Republic of Germany’s Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), shared this position in an interview with Welt am Sonntag newspaper on February 10. He noted that increasing combat preparedness to the level required during warfare necessitates people and material readiness and changes in social thinking among German military personnel.
Breuer claimed that for the first time since the conclusion of the Cold War, the European Union is facing the possibility of an external war, referring to concerns that Russia’s war against Ukraine could escalate to include other nations. According to the Bundeswehr Inspector General, if one considers analysts’ perspectives and the potential military danger by Russia, Germany will need five to eight years of preparedness. This does not imply that conflict will occur, he emphasised.
At the same time, Breuer sees in the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin an intention to expand the war beyond Ukraine. “I learn about this intention from Putin by what he writes and says, as well as by his actions in Ukraine,” explained the German general. Additionally, “we see that Russia has transitioned to a war economy by the decision of the State Duma,” he added.
War of attrition in Ukraine
The Inspector General of the Bundeswehr referred to the fighting in Ukraine as a “terrible aggressive war with significant losses on both sides.” “The way Putin sends his soldiers into battle is inhumane,” he emphasised. According to Breuer, symptoms of an attrition war are already visible, and future events will be determined primarily by how the Kremlin supplies the front and how many more soldiers it decides to send to Ukraine.
At the same time, Breuer reacted to critics who accused the West of giving Kyiv weaponry in sufficient quantity to sustain the war but not to end it successfully. “I really don’t see any conscious restriction of aid anywhere,” he noted. The German military official added that Germany is only limited by what is at its disposal and what can be produced and delivered to the Ukrainian side.
Bundeswehr brigade in Lithuania
At the same time, the permanent deployment of a Bundeswehr unit in Lithuania, which borders Russia, sends multiple key messages, according to Breuer.
Signal to Moscow: “We are serious and support our NATO allies.” Signal to Vilnius: “We stand shoulder to shoulder with you; you can rely on us.” Signal to the population of the Federal Republic of Germany: “We are returning something to others from what we received from allies during the Cold War, namely military protection, which we were able to use not only for the economic development of our country,” explained the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr.
Breuer stated that approximately 20 EU member states will allocate 2% of their GDP to defence this year. At the same time, he continued that Europe recognises the importance of developing a more autonomous defence system from the United States.