German leader Olaf Scholz announces new military spending 'to confront Russia threat'

Chancellor accuses Russia's President Vladimir Putin of destroying a European security structure that lasted for nearly 50 years

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told MPs that the country is changing course in response to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Reuters
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Sunday an extra €100 billion ($113 billion) for the country’s military to confront "the growing threat from Russia".

Mr Scholz said the money for a special military fund was part of a commitment to raise defence spending above 2 per cent of GDP annually.

"It's clear we need to invest significantly more in the security of our country, in order to protect our freedom and our democracy," Mr Scholz told a special session of the Bundestag in Berlin on Sunday.

The move is significant for Germany, which has been accused by the US and other Nato allies of failing to contribute more to the alliance.

Mr Scholz told a security conference earlier this month that “we need aircraft, we need ships and we need soldiers” and added that Russian President Vladimir Putin must not underestimate Germany’s resoluteness in defending Nato territory.

The pledge on spending is just one of a series of measures announced by Germany over the past days that included lifting a ban on exporting weapons to war zones, when it approved the delivery of 400 German-made rocket-propelled grenades to Ukraine by the Netherlands. It also changed its position about imposing restrictions on some Russian banks using the Swift interbank system.

Mr Scholz also announced plans to protect energy security by building up coal and gas storage and measures to promote domestic renewable energy after suspending the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

He saved his toughest rhetoric for Mr Putin, who he said had launched a cold-blooded assault to end Ukraine’s freedom. The launch of the attack “marked a change in the history of our continent,” he said.

In attacking Ukraine, he didn’t just want to “eradicate a country from the world map, he is destroying a European security structure that we have had …. for nearly half a century”.

Updated: February 27, 2022, 11:18 PM