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Stay updates: Russia’s conflict in Ukraine

Armin Papperger, CEO of German protection and automotive group Rheinmetall, is pictured throughout a Reuters interview in Duesseldorf, Germany, on Friday, January 27. (Jana Rodenbusch/Reuters)

The chief of one in every of Germany’s largest arms producers stated the country’s increased military budget of 100 billion euros (round $108 billion) is “too low” to fulfill the federal government’s aim of modernizing Germany’s navy capability.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz introduced the bolstered funds days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

“Many individuals speak about the truth that the protection funds is just too low, and I can affirm that,” Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger told Reuters this week in a video interview. 

“Final yr, for instance, we weren’t in a position to ship vans or ammunition as a result of there was no funds, as a result of there was no cash,” the CEO stated. 

Within the interview, Papperger praised newly appointed German Protection Minister Boris Pistorius for the “absolute report” time it took the 2 to have a dialog.

“Mr. Pistorius is the eleventh protection minister I’ve seen in my time at Rheinmetall. And by no means has anybody wished to fulfill with us so rapidly. I believe that’s essential, we live in particular occasions, now we have conflict in Europe,” he stated. 

Germany’s particular protection fund, which was arrange final yr, is no longer enough to cowl its necessities, Pistorius stated in an interview with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung printed on Friday.

He additionally stated sending fighter jets to Ukraine was “out of the question” after the nation agreed to supply Leopard 2 tanks earlier within the week.

The Rheinmetall CEO stated within the interview his firm may improve its manufacturing of tank rounds to over 100,000 “immediately,” and that the arms producer has a complete capability of over 240,000 rounds, however for a bottleneck of gunpowder. 

He added that the gunpowder scarcity was being compounded by the demand to provide each tank and artillery shells.

“Which means we’d really want an additional powder capability in Europe and ideally one in Germany,” Papperger stated. 

The CEO stated his firm would wish monetary help from the German authorities if it wished to construct one other ammunitions manufacturing facility to fulfill that potential demand. 

“It will be a comparatively giant plant as we would wish to construct a specialised chemical plant that might carry an estimated price of between 700 and 800 million euros (between about $761 million and $871 million),” Papperger stated. 

“That is an funding that can not be borne by the business alone, however is an funding in nationwide safety, which is required,” he added. 

A Rheinmetall spokesman advised CNN on Tuesday that despite the fact that it has 139 Leopard tanks in inventory, solely 29 fashionable Leopard 2 fight tanks may very well be prepared for supply as early as April or Might, as they’re being ready for a weapons ring change. Rheinmetall would wish a couple of yr to organize one other 22 Leopard 2 autos that it has in inventory, he added.

CNN’s Inke Kappeler and Claudia Otto in Berlin contributed reporting to this publish.

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