Support for Ukraine has created a serious shortage of arms and ammunition in NATO member states, according to Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance’s secretary general. At the same time, the head of the Bundeswehr, André Wüstner, has said that Germany is in “free fall” in terms of its defense capabilities.
“Our support to Ukraine has exhausted NATO’s stockpiles of arms and ammunition,” the NATO Secretary General told Die Welt. According to Jens Stoltenberg, the massive support that the alliance’s member states have given and are giving to Kyiv is right and necessary, “but of course, we have to replenish our stocks, if only to be able to continue to provide assistance.”
Wüstner said the same about the German Army. The German delivery of Leopard-2 tanks is “good for Ukraine on the one hand but bad for the Bundeswehr’s operational readiness on the other,” he told ZDF’s Morgenmagazin program on Wednesday.
“If we want not only to support Ukraine but also to be able to defend ourselves again, the government must strengthen the military industry, otherwise the coming years will be characterized by austerity,” said Wüstner. He added: “We must not believe that the war in Ukraine will be over in two or three months and that the tanks promised by Germany will be delivered one by one.”
“It has been said over the past few months that we are only partially ready to defend ourselves — if we are ready at all,” he said, adding that “the truth is that we have been providing arms and ammunition continuously since February. We are in free fall in terms of our own ability to defend ourselves, and we don’t see a breakout point.”
Politicians bear responsibility not only for supporting Ukraine against the Russian offensive but also for the defense of Germany and the Western alliance, Wüstner said.