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Germany’s highest-ranking military officer cast doubt on the Germany army’s combat readiness, claiming that years of neglect have left it in a questionable state amid the ongoing Ukrainian-Russian war.
Inspector of the Army Lt. Gen. Alfons Mais described the army as “standing bare” and said it would be limited in its capabilities should it be asked to assist in a NATO mission in a post he shared on his LinkedIn profile, Stripes.com reported.
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“In my 41st year of service in peace, I would not have thought I would have had to experience another war,” he added in the post. “And the army that I am allowed to lead, is more or less standing bare.”
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After Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this week, the international community has been put on notice and German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht placed the country’s defense forces on national alert, Stripes.com reported.
But Mais claimed in the post that the army would be limited in its capabilities to assist in a NATO mission: “The options we can offer policymakers to support the Alliance are extremely limited.”
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According to the report, Mais appealed to his government to do more to boost its combat readiness in 2014, following the Russian invasion of Crimea, but his arguments failed to influence policy changes.
“We all saw it coming and were unable to penetrate with our arguments to draw and implement the conclusions of the annexation of Crimea,” he wrote in the post.
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Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a former defense minister under Chancellor Angela Merkel, similarly claimed that her country failed to bolster its military as Russian tensions with its neighboring countries boiled over.
“I’m so angry at ourselves for our historical failure. After Georgia, Crimea, and Donbas, we have not prepared anything that would have really deterred (Vladimir) Putin,” Kramp-Karrenbauer tweeted Thursday.
We have forgotten the lesson of Schmidt and Kohl that negotiation always comes first, but we have to be militarily strong enough to make non-negotiation not an option for the other side.
— A. Kramp-Karrenbauer (@akk) February 24, 2022