The Russian invasion of Ukraine has scared German officials enough for the country, frugal on defense, to kickstart a surge in military power.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced to parliament on Sunday that the country would be raising its defense and military spending above 2% of its total GDP. Germany has, for decades, refused to adjust their spending on defense, instead focusing spending on social programs. With Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine underway, Scholz thinks it is time to flex the nation's muscles.
"We have to ask ourselves – what capacities does Putin’s Russia have and which capacities do we need to counter his threats?" Scholz said in front of parliament Sunday.
"It’s clear, we will need to invest a lot more in the security of our country to defend our freedom and our democracy."
Scholz claimed that Putin is attempting to establish a new Russian empire, and questioned whether Europe would have the means to protect sovereign territory.
Putin ordered nuclear deterrent forces be put on high alert as Russia and Ukraine battle for the fourth day.
Putin ordered the Russian defense minister and the chief of the military's General Staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a "special regime of combat duty."
"He is right now threatening a nuclear escalation," said former DIA intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler. "This a veiled threat – or maybe such a veiled threat – he just met with his chief of general staff and minister of defense. He is escalating the conflict into the nuclear domain in order to de-escalate – that is, topple Kyiv’s regime quickly."
Ukraine's defense budget isn't enough to go "toe-to-toe with the Russians," but it is more than sufficient to wage a guerrilla campaign, Daniel Hoffman, a former Moscow station chief for the CIA, told FOX Business.
Ukraine's $6 billion defense budget is about one-tenth of Russia's, according to recent data from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Saturday that the U.S. will further bolster Ukraine's defense with $350 million more in aid.
Hoffman applauded the extra support but said these funds should have "provided all this stuff earlier to deter Russia," adding that "timing matters."