Germany military to quicken push for combat readiness, defmin says

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German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht speaks during news conference as she visits German troops in Rukla military base, Lithuania February 22, 2022. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

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BERLIN, March 29 (Reuters) - Germany will build up its military quicker than planned by bringing a division to combat-readiness two years ahead of schedule, Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Tuesday, detailing Berlin's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"Germany will reach NATO's planning targets faster than promised," she said, according to the draft text of a speech she was due to deliver at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington.

"We will have the planned division of the army combat-ready in 2025, two years ahead of time." While Germany does not have a single combat-ready army division at the moment, it had 12 such divisions in the 1980s during the Cold War.

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According to its original schedule, Berlin was aiming for one combat-ready division in 2027 and a total of three combat-ready divisions in 2032.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in a major policy shift for the country after decades of attrition, pledged to inject 100 billion euros ($111.15 billion) into the Bundeswehr after the start of the war in Ukraine. read more

The money is earmarked for ramping up the German military's readiness, mainly by buying weapons and equipment that troops have so far lacked.

Since Scholz's landmark speech on Feb. 27, three days after the invasion, Berlin has announced the purchase of F-35 fighter jets from the United States and said it is aiming to buy a missile defence system. Scholz also said Germany would sharply raise defence spending to more than 2% of its economic output.

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Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Editing by Miranda Murray, William Maclean

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