ANGELA Merkel and Vladimir Putin have separately announced plans to increase military spending as Europe looks to equip itself for war.
Both leaders said their respective armies would be bolstered in the coming years, setting the continent on course for a new arms race.
President Putin declared the Kremlin must boost its combat readiness to counter expansion by Nato towards Russia’s borders.
Chancellor Merkel immediately reacted by saying Germany should increase its military spending to play its part in defending Europe – hinting the US, Britain and the three other Nato members who currently spend at least two per cent of GDP on defence were shouldering too much of the financial burden.
She said: “It will not go well in the long run if we say that we hope and expect others to carry the defence burden for us.”
Germany currently spends 1.2 per cent of its GDP on the military, while the US spends 3.4 per cent and the UK spends 2.1 per cent of their GDP on defence.
The German cabinet has also approved an expansion of the German navy’s efforts in the Mediterranean Sea to stop arms headed to Islamic State militants in Libya.
Once approved by parliament, German ships will be able to stop, search and seize larger vessels used by gangs transporting migrants, and also take suspects into custody.
In a speech to the lower house of parliament today, Putin said: “NATO is strengthening its aggressive rhetoric and its aggressive actions near our borders.
Speaking on the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union, the Russian leader said his government was open to dialogue with the West but “just as it happened on the eve of World War Two, we do not see a positive reaction in response”.
Full article: New ARMS RACE: Germany AND Russia vow to boost defence spending as Europe militarises (Express)