The Washington PostThe Washington Post

To counter Russia, Germany promised a strong military. What happened?

05 Jun 2023 · 3 min read

informed Summary

  1. In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed to rebuild Germany's military and assist Ukraine.

As Russian soldiers massed on Ukraine's borders shortly before Vladimir Putin launched his ruinous war last year, Germany answered Kyiv's pleas for military aid by offering to send 5,000 helmets, a gesture Ukrainian officials widely derided. "What kind of support will Germany send next?" asked Kyiv's mayor, Vitali Klitschko. "Pillows?"

A month later, after tens of thousands of Russian troops invaded Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told his stunned compatriots that Berlin's decades-long thinking about national security, defense and foreign policy had to be reassessed. The country, he said, needed to support Ukraine and also to embark on a "major national undertaking" to rebuild its military. Keeping "warmongers like Putin in check," he said, "requires strength of our own."

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