Germany will bring back into service 100 mothballed tanks in response to tensions rising across Europe from Russian actions in Ukraine, in Crimea and other Russian agitations across the continent.
This move by Germany adds to the state of preparedness already underway throughout Europe by fearful nations concerned over the unpredictable nature of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the likelihood that his aggression could pierce their borders.
From Estonia, to Poland, to Latvia, to Lithuania and beyond, European nations have been preparing and training their citizens in defense and other measures toward the protection of their sovereignty. Moreover, Nordic states have declared closer defense ties with each other along with a stronger solidarity with Baltic states as a further deterrent to Russian aggression.
After annexing Crimea over a year ago under an aggressive military operation in which, Putin has admitted he considered uncorking Russia's nuclear arsenal for the event, Russian meddling has continued to stoke war in Ukraine's east that has witnessed the death of some 6,000 people in a conflict, which has been punctuated by brief cessations, yet, it remains active holding captive Ukraine's aspirations to full westernization, as pro-Russian rebels carve to Russian influence, large swaths of Ukraine territory. Also, in the Nordic states, in the Baltic states, and even off the coast and air of Great Britain, Putin's ships and aircraft, have sought to pester the peace of European nations.
Thus, the new move by Germany to return to service 100 mothballed tanks, as reported by the BBC-NEWS, underscores that agitations from Russia in Ukraine and Crimea, are more than temporary, but represent a growing fear of Russian aggression in Europe.
In confirming the plan to return to service the 100 Leopard II battle tanks, German Defense Ministry spokesperson, Jens Flosdorff, said Germany has to ensure that it can deploy troops with correct equipment to the right place in a short period of time.
In February, NATO announced a Rapid Reaction Force to answer possible Russian action as a fall out from the Ukraine crisis and to respond to any Islamic extremists events in Europe. As a result, European forces have been updating their capability to respond quickly to any military threats. However, said the German Defense Ministry spokesperson:"This (rapid response) can only succeed if the equipment does not need to be first moved around through the country," the BBC-News reported.
Hence, Germany will spend $24 million to modernized the mothballed tanks starting in 2017 so that it may bring its battle tank numbers up to 328 after reducing them from 350 to 225 four-years-ago.
I opine that Europe still has time to prepare before it witnesses another round of strong aggression from Vladimir Putin on his fallible fantasy of empire creation of a bygone era.
A cash shortage as an effect of sanctions imposed for meddling in Ukraine, has weaken Putin's desires. Also, an attempt to project a face of peace in order to lure dignitaries to Moscow for 70th anniversary celebrations of the end of WWII, places Putin's dreams on hold until at least after the festivities. And in addition, falling oil prices have dried up much of the cash Putin expected to have to complete his quest.
However, with the deepening crisis in Yemen and involving Saudi Arabia, oil supply, output and inevitable prices could become effected over the next couple of months providing fresh cash to Putin. Thus, Europe's widening defense preparations, are necessarily fitting.