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Germany Greenlights Purchase Of U.S. Fighter Jets

Germany on December 14 gave the green light for the purchase of nearly three dozen U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets as part of a military overhaul prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The German parliament’s budget committee approved eight projects totaling 13 billion euros ($13.86 billion), including a 10-billion-euro purchase of the F-35 fighter jets.

In light of current security challenges, including Russia's war in Ukraine, close cooperation between allies is more important than ever, the U.S. Embassy in Berlin said in a statement after the purchase was approved.

"The German F-35 program will ensure the continuation of Germany's alliance commitments and guarantee NATO's credible deterrence in the future," the embassy said.

Ambassador Amy Gutmann said on Twitter that the U.S.-German defense partnership has never been stronger and is a key pillar of NATO's trans-Atlantic partnership.

The 35 jets are expected to be delivered between 2026 and 2029, the embassy statement said.

Berlin announced plans in March to purchase the jets to replace its aging Tornado fleet. But the Defense Ministry raised concerns about the plan, warning of "delays and additional costs."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the war in Ukraine has pushed Germany to make the investment, the largest in its military since its founding after World War II.

The budget committee also approved the purchase of new assault rifles and radio systems and an upgrade to its Puma armored personnel carriers.

The funding comes from a 100-billion-euro fund to upgrade the military that Scholz announced days after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Speaking to lawmakers on December 14, Scholz stressed that the European Union remains united in its support for Ukraine. He said Russian President Vladimir Putin had fundamentally miscalculated the unity of Europe and the democratic West before launching the invasion.

Putin also was wrong in his estimation of the courage of the Ukrainians, Scholz told lawmakers.

Looking back on 2022, he said the Russian war of aggression had been a turning point "for all of Europe and the world,” and he said Germany and Europe would continue to stand firmly by Ukraine’s side.

Support for Ukraine, including sanctions against Russia, will be maintained and intensified for as long as Putin kept up the war, Scholz added, and in 2023, the EU will provide Ukraine with a further 18 billion euros in financial assistance.

"Nobody is suffering as much from Russia's war as the Ukrainians, and we stand firmly by their side," he said.

By RFE/RL

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