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27 Oct, 2022 20:59

Increase in German military objectors amid Ukraine conflict – AFP

With NATO growing ever more involved in Eastern Europe, the number of requests for dismissal has nearly quadrupled this year
Increase in German military objectors amid Ukraine conflict – AFP

Nearly four times as many German soldiers, reservists and other trained personnel have asked to leave the service this year than in 2021, the AFP reported. The increase comes as Germany deepens its involvement in Ukraine and seeks to rebuild its armed forces.

The Bundeswehr received 810 requests to register as conscientious objectors in the first eight months of this year, up from 209 throughout the whole of 2021, Der Spiegel reported on Wednesday, citing figures from the Defense Ministry seen by AFP.

By registering their refusal to fight, soldiers are eligible to leave military service and can invoke their status as conscientious objectors even in the event that conscription is reintroduced.

Fewer active servicemen and women handed in their notices, with the Bundeswehr receiving 136 refusals to fight this year, down from 176 last year. However, 190 reservists refused, up from 10 last year. There were an additional 484 refusals from people awaiting a job in the armed forces, up from 23 in 2021. 

The ministry did not explain the increase, but Left Party deputy leader Sevim Dagdelen claimed that the figures “reflect concerns about the consequences of the federal government’s military escalation in Ukraine.”

While Germany is not officially a party to the conflict in Ukraine, it has abandoned its initial refusal to provide Kiev’s forces with offensive weaponry, and now ships artillery, rockets, anti-aircraft missile systems and vehicle-mounted cannons to Ukraine. Germany is a member of NATO, and Moscow has repeatedly warned that such arms shipments prolong the fighting in Ukraine and make the US-led military bloc a de-facto participant in the conflict.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced in March that he would lead an ambitious program to rebuild the country’s military, reversing decades of neglect by successive administrations. Although lawmakers in Berlin approved the creation of a 100 billion euro ($99.7 billion) military modernization fund in June, the weakening euro now means that Germany reportedly can’t afford the equipment it wants, and its current stockpiles have been all but depleted since August, as a result of supplying Ukraine.




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