Germany's defence fund not enough, sending fighter jets to Ukraine 'ruled out'

Germany's new defence minister Boris Pistorius (left) visits troops in eastern Germany, on Jan 26, 2023. PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN - Germany’s €100 billion (S$130 billion) special defence fund is no longer enough to cover its needs, the new Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said, in an interview with Sueddeutsche Zeitung published on Friday.

Mr Pistorius, who took office last week after his predecessor resigned, said Germany would also need to raise its annual regular defence spending from the current level of around €50 billion.

Germany also needs to replenish its military hardware stocks, including replacements for the 14 Leopard tanks that Berlin agreed to send to Ukraine to help repel Russia’s invasion, the new defence chief said.

Germany’s decision to suspend compulsory military service in 2011 was a mistake, he added, saying he was hesitant to place a burden upon young generations but was open to discussing a new model to strengthen the relationship between citizens and the state.

Asked whether Germany would send fighter jets to Ukraine - the next request from Kyiv after Germany approved earlier this week the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks - Mr Pistorius said this was “ruled out”.

“Fighter aircraft are much more complex systems than main battle tanks and have a completely different range and firepower. We would be venturing into dimensions that I would currently warn against,” Mr Pistorius said in the interview. REUTERS

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