Germany’s Scholz wants air defence shield in next five years – Funke

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BERLIN, Dec 8 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hopes to develop a missile defence shield in the next five years, he said in an interview with the Funke Media Group and French newspaper Ouest-France published on Thursday.

“Right now, the government is talking to the manufacturers of the various systems to get ready for concrete decisions,” he said.

Scholz also reiterated his goal of boosting German defence spending to meet the 2%-of-GDP target set for NATO allies, including with the expansion of air defence for a so-called Sky Shield with other EU states.

The risk of Russian President Vladimir President Putin using nuclear weapons as part of his war in Ukraine has decreased in response to international pressure, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview published on Thursday.

The war was continuing with “undiminished brutality” though, for now, one thing had changed, Scholz told Funke media in an interview to mark his first year in office.

“Russia has stopped threatening to use nuclear weapons. As a reaction to the international community marking a red line.”

Despite deep divisions, it was important that dialogue with the Kremlin continued, Germany’s leader added.

Putin said on Wednesday that the risk of a nuclear war was rising but insisted Russia had not “gone mad” and that it saw its own nuclear arsenal as a purely defensive deterrent.

Scholz said Putin had to stop the war but afterwards, he would be prepared to talk to Russia about arms control in Europe, adding this had also been on offer before the war.

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