Germany's defence fund not enough, sending fighter jets 'ruled out': defence minister
BERLIN, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Germany's 100 billion euro ($108 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.
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 euros.
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 sent fighter jets to Ukraine, the next request from Kyiv after Germany approved earlier this week the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks, Pistorius said this was "ruled out".
"Fighter aircrafts are much more complex systems than main battle tanks and have a completely different range and firepower. We would be venture into dimensions that I would currently warn against," Pistorius said in the interview.
($1 = 0.9223 euros)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.