KW 17: Ukraine accuses security service general of spying for Russia, Dispute over German purchase of US fighter jets, Results of Bundeswehr’s deployment in Mali


Promised too much, developed too late: The procurement of a successor to the Tornado jet in Germany is already a big back and forth. German pilots have even expressed doubts as to why the Tornado, which is currently unmatched in low-altitude flight, is being retired. The F-35’s camouflage properties are particularly useful in scenarios like an unnoticed intrusion into foreign airspace. But this is not the most important scenario for the Bundeswehr. So why not stick with proven systems? The Bundeswehr already has enough construction sites in progress. While the planned introduction of the F-18 is certainly not a bad buy, it is also simply a bridging solution. The real question is why is there no European alternative to the F-35 and F-18? And what about NATO’s ability to conduct electronic aerial combat, which would still have to be developed with the Eurofighter? It’s a clear case of promises made too early and developments started too late.

Warm greetings from
Christian Hübenthal
– Editor Defensio Briefing –


Ukraine accuses security service general of spying for Russia: Ukraine has announced that it has detained a security service general, Valery Shaitanov, on accusations of treason and working for Russia as a spy. The SBU security service described Shaitanov as an agent of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation and said it had undeniable evidence that he had planned terrorist acts in Ukraine in exchange for $200,000 and a Russian passport. Shaitanov had also acted as a go-between in a conspiracy to murder Adam Osmayev, a Chechen man who leads a battalion of Chechens fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in the east of the country. Osmayev’s wife, Amina Okuyeva, who also fought in the battalion, was killed in an attack in 2017.

Dispute over German purchase of US fighter jets: Germany confirmed on Monday that it aims to replace its ageing fleet of Tornado fighter-bombers with aircraft from both European manufacturer Airbus and US-based Boeing. An official decision on the procurement plan will be sent to parliament’s defense committee in the coming days, a defense ministry spokesman said. German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had told her American counterpart Mark Esper about the plans over the weekend. But with a final procurement decision unlikely before the next parliament beginning in 2021, that has angered some from the center-left social democrats (SPD), junior coalition partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government.

Iranian boats said to have provoked US warships: Nearly a dozen vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy took dangerous and provocative actions near US Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Persian Gulf, the US Pentagon said. Six US military vessels were conducting training operations in international waters when eleven Iranian ships crossed the bows and sterns of the US vessels at extremely close range and high speeds. The US crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, five short blasts from the ships’ horns and long-range acoustic noise maker devices to the Iranian ships, according to a US Navy statement. After about an hour, the Iranian vessels maneuvered away from the US ships and opened distance between them.

Attacks in Nigeria: Gunmen killed 47 people in attacks on villages in the northwestern Nigerian state of Katsina in the early hours of Saturday, local police said. Armed bandits, some of whom wielded AK 47 guns, carried out the attacks, Katsina police said in a statement on Sunday. Hundreds of people have been killed in the last year by criminal gangs carrying out robberies and kidnappings in northwest Nigeria.

E-learning: Bundeswehr postpones basic training
Armaments: Germany wants to strengthen warship construction
Counter-terrorism operation: Human rights activists accuse army in Burkina Faso of war crimes
Government crisis: Lesotho PM deploys army
Mali: Financing agreed for new training camp in Mali


Germany’s Bundeswehr has received 442 requests for administrative assistance from states and local authorities in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.


Turkey increasingly relying on in-house armament production: Armaments in Turkey are increasingly being produced in-house. Turkish drones, which are used in Syria or Libya, for example, have even been praised by the Israeli trade magazine “Israel Defense”. Last year, Turkish President Erdogan spoke about Turkey’s problems with buying drones from abroad. American presidents didn’t want to sell him drones. “But we made a virtue out of necessity. Today we manufacture unarmed and armed drones ourselves and will continue to improve the quality in the coming months.” Turkey’s problems with the procurement of armaments began as early as 1974 after the occupation of Northern Cyprus and the resulting arms embargo in the United States. Ali Cinar, head of the Turkish Heritage Organization, said Turkey’s first arms company was created because of this arms embargo. Today, Turkey is the 14th largest arms exporter. The country mainly delivers to countries such as Turkmenistan, Oman and Pakistan.

Results of Bundeswehr’s deployment in Mali: From the outset, Germany’s Bundeswehr mission in Afghanistan was characterized by false expectations as well as vague and unrealistic plans. Security expert Winfried Nachtwei, who often advises the defense and foreign ministries, criticized that the responsible ministries never carried out a “comprehensive, systematic and joint” analysis of the deployment. He warned that the Bundeswehr could now repeat the same mistakes made during its deployment in Mali. This assessment is also confirmed by confidential federal government documents. The defense ministry officially speaks of a successful mission in training Malian soldiers. Over 14,000 soldiers were trained. But a government paper from March 2020 is much more pessimistic: The Malian army was “unable to meet the expectations placed on it due to its internal structure, lack of structural reforms and inadequate capabilities” – especially when it comes to equipment. The situation is no better for the UN “Minusma” mission, in which the Bundeswehr is participating with a total of 1,100 soldiers. The German government complains in its internal papers that the conflict parties have only agreed on “purely symbolic concessions”. All parties in the country “benefited from the current status quo and the presence of international security forces”, preventing any genuine compromises.


“Whatever has been communicated to Washington DC, it could not have been more than a non-binding letter of intent. Any payment needs to be approved by the parliament, and parliament was not included in that decision. There’s clearly a need to talk things out in the coalition.”
German SPD defense expert Fritz Felgentreu on the planned purchase of 45 F-18 fighter jets from the United States.


Troop exercise despite coronavirus: Despite nationwide restrictions and business closures in Germany, the Bundeswehr is planning an exercise with around 1,600 soldiers in the Altmark in Saxony-Anhalt. Although the management of the exercise center in that region had proposed postponing the exercise, a postponement was not approved by the army’s top command.

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