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Bundeswehr announces peak phase of major NATO maneuvers

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Bundeswehr announces peak phase of major NATO maneuvers

What NATO described as “the largest defense exercise” since the Cold War began in January. Now “Steadfast Defender” has entered its “visible peak phase”. The Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, Carsten Breuer, announced “Impacts on everyday life” at the federal press conference on Monday, April 22nd.

In the coming weeks “a lot will be expected of the population”, expressed Breuer. In this context, he asked road users to give priority to columns on the motorway if possible. After all, “German reliability” and speed in the laying process are important.

Breuer praises the Bundeswehr as an “all-in” alliance army

As the Inspector General explained, 90,000 soldiers are involved in the large-scale exercise. The last time there was such extensive participation in a NATO maneuver was in 1988. At that time, 124,800 soldiers took part in the “Reforger” exercise. This year Germany is contributing 12,000 men and 3,000 vehicles.

As a supposedly realistic emergency, the reaction to a Russian attack on alliance territory is being rehearsed. The “relocation of personnel and material to the eastern flank” of NATO and their “assembly as powerful military units” will therefore be rehearsed until the end of May.

At the federal press conference, Breuer explained that the exercise showed that the Bundeswehr had now become an alliance army. In the past, people simply “shelled out contingents for crisis operations,” but today they go “all in” – that makes a big difference.

Russia calls major NATO exercise “provocation”

The training area extends from the north of Norway through the Baltics and Poland to Romania. All branches of the armed forces are involved – on water, on land and in the air. As a “logistical hub in the heart of Europe”, de facto “all roads lead through Germany”. As part of the overall exercise, Germany is actively involved in ten multinational operational exercises. Breuer justifies the effort, one must “practice like in an emergency, practice like in war.”

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Like the BSW in the Bundestag by way of a request to the federal government could determine, the cost of German participation is around 90 million euros. At 50 million, transport costs made up the largest part.

There would also be eight million euros for rental and lease expenses, a further 5.5 million euros for business trips and 23.5 million for “other training costs”. MP Żaklin Nastić, who made the request, clearly criticized the maneuver and said:

The federal government is exposing us all to considerable danger with its dangerous escalation policy. Diplomacy must become the political standard again.”

Russia described the NATO exercise as a “provocation.” The Kremlin has no ambitions to attack a NATO country.

X users warn of NATO’s escalation policy on Russia’s western border

Breuer, on the other hand, is satisfied with the progress of the exercise. At the federal press conference, he emphasized the determination with which the Bundeswehr is approaching the task: that

showed me that war capability has arrived and that clear steps have been taken towards war… war capability.”

Some social media users thought that the fact that the inspector general had to repeat the second mention of “war capability” twice, and that the phrase “clear steps towards war” was used for a short time, was a Freudian slip of the tongue. According to the theory, an actual thought or intention on the part of the speaker involuntarily comes to light in the unintended formulation.

Accordingly, Breuer’s appearance is often commented on with references to previous European aggressions against Russia and warnings against “another sleepwalking into war”.

Bottlenecks in financing the brigade for Lithuania?

In politics, however, people are not yet universally convinced of the “warworthiness”. CDU/CSU parliamentary group vice-president Johann Wadephul has to the “Editorial Network Germany” (RND) warned of a collapse in the defense budget. He bases his concerns, among other things, on the costs of the planned stationing of a 5,000-strong brigade. This would be the largest permanent foreign deployment of German soldiers in the history of the Bundeswehr.

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A representative of Federal Minister Boris Pistorius recently called for eleven billion euros to finance the project in the Bundestag’s Defense Committee. Given the considerable amount of money spent on this task alone, Wadephul said it was “a mystery” to him as to how the federal government wanted to draw up a sustainable budget. The Union politician said:

“The Minister of Defense made his deployment announcement without reviewing the necessary follow-up decisions. Now he is faced with the task of raising this enormous sum.”

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