BERLIN — Alfons Mais, the chief of the German army, has sharply criticized the state of the country’s armed forces, slamming underinvestment in its military equipment against the backdrop of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“The Bundeswehr, the army that I am privileged to lead, is more or less bare. The options that we can offer the politicians to support the alliance are extremely limited,” Mais wrote in a Linkedin post on Thursday morning.
“We all saw it coming and were not able to get through with our arguments, to draw the conclusions from the Crimean annexation and implement them. This does not feel good! I am pissed off!” Mais, a lieutenant-general, wrote.
Christine Lambrecht, Germany’s defense minister, had also warned that the Bundeswehr was reaching its capacity limits and demanded more financial support from Finance Minister Christian Lindner and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during the Munich Security Conference late last week.
Demands for military support from Ukraine have become louder after Russia invaded the country in the early hours of Thursday morning.
“The list of defensive weapons that we expect from Germany has been on the table of the minister of defense since February 3 and we hope that at least today we will get an honest answer to this request,” Andrij Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, told public broadcaster ZDF on Thursday morning.
Robert Habeck, Germany’s vice chancellor in Olaf Scholz’s Cabinet, told public broadcaster ZDF that “In retrospect, one must say … that the West was too naïve.”
Meanwhile, the foreign policy spokesman of the SPD’s parliamentary group, Nils Schmid, told German radio Deutschlandfunk that: “Whether military aid from the West will help at this point remains to be seen.”