21:54 GMT11 July 2020
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    For the first time since the end of the Cold War, Germany has enlisted additional soldiers in its army. The era of disarmament in Berlin seems to be over, Austrian newspaper Die Presse wrote.

    For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the number of soldiers in the German army is expected to increase by about 14,300 servicemen and 4,400 thousand employees until 2023, the newspaper reported.

    On Tuesday, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen publicly abolished the upper limit of 185,000 soldiers introduced in 2011.

    "Today it is necessary," the minister said, cited by the newspaper.

    Since the Day of the German reunification in 1990, the number of Bundeswehr soldiers decreased from 585,000 to 185,000. The large-scale reduction of armed forces has been accelerated by the financial crisis and subsequent austerity prescriptions as well as the "peaceful" spirit of the time, the newspaper wrote.

    In 2011, Germany cancelled military duty which has led to a significant reduction in the number of troops. It has also introduced an upper limit of 185,000 soldiers, and as a result 177,000 soldiers have served in the Bundeswehr in the last couple of years.

    The first changes became apparent in 2014, when von der Leyen called for Europe to share the burden within NATO with the United States that has always been covering a large part of the costs of the alliance.

    According to NATO standards, a state should allocate two percent of its GDP for the purpose of defense, but for Germany such numbers still remain unreal.

    "Germany's arms buildup is only a concession on the eve of the NATO summit in Warsaw in July," the newspaper wrote.

    Previous reports stated that Berlin is likely to deploy its troops as a part of NATO's battalion in Lithuania. The mission will be aimed at "containing" Russia and preventing alleged Russian aggression against Baltic States.

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    Tags:
    military buildup, Bundeswehr, Germany
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