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Report: German soldiers complain of lack of winter clothing

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - A German army troop on alert to bolster NATO‘s eastern flank has complained about a lack of proper winter clothing and other equipment, a German newspaper reported on Monday.

Members of parliament from across the political spectrum reacted angrily to the report in the Rheinische Post, criticizing the Bundeswehr in the latest embarrassment for Germany‘s armed forces.

The paper said that the Bundeswehr‘s rapid-reaction force for 2019 was missing not only tanks, but also protective vests, winter clothing and tents, citing a memo written by the troop‘s leaders.

In order to counter Russian aggression following Moscow‘s annexation of Crimea, NATO in 2014 launched a so-called Spearhead Force, or Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, comprising 14,000 soldiers ready for swift deployment.

Member states of the military alliance staff the mission on a rotating basis. Troops stay at their bases but remain on high alert to move to their stations within 48 to 72 hours of receiving the order.

Germany led the task force in 2015 and is next in line to take on the duty again in early 2019, with 10,000 soldiers set to take part.

The Defence Ministry said the troop‘s operational readiness was not impacted by the lack of equipment, in an attempt to downplay the scandal.

"This doesn‘t mean that the necessary equipment is in essence not available to the Bundeswehr or that we cannot obtain it in the given time frame," a ministry spokesman said. "We have no reason to worry that Germany will not be able to fulfil its NATO obligations."

Germany has come under pressure from NATO allies - particularly the United States - to increase its defence budget. Meanwhile, the Bundeswehr has come up against a series of scandals in recent years involving ageing tanks and faulty equipment.


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(20.03.2018 16:30)

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