NATO calls on European countries to boost arms production
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on European countries to increase their arms production, anticipating a prolonged confrontation with Russia.
In an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Stoltenberg highlighted the need for Europe's economy to focus more on the production of weapons and ammunition, particularly in light of the ongoing war in Ukraine. "To boost our supplies to Ukraine and replenish our stocks, we must swiftly enhance and expand our industrial base," Stoltenberg stated, emphasizing the shift from peacetime slow production to the rapid manufacturing required during conflicts.
Pointing to the necessity for contracts to motivate arms manufacturers in free-market economies to increase production, Stoltenberg added, "The European industry needs more contracts of this kind, and they need to be signed more quickly."
Stoltenberg also stressed that Western countries possess the means to outpace Russia in both production and investment, noting, "The economic and industrial strength of the West far overshadows that of Russia."
He warned that failing to increase weapon production could benefit Russian President Vladimir Putin and threaten Europe's security. "Putin is preparing the Russian economy for a long war. He has ordered a 70% increase in Russia's military spending and continues to seek missile supplies from Iran and North Korea. As Russia mobilizes its entire economy for war, we too must do more for our security," Stoltenberg argued.
He highlighted progress within the alliance, mentioning that NATO has secured ammunition contracts worth $10 billion in six months.
While acknowledging the desire to invest more in education and healthcare, Stoltenberg reminded that schools, hospitals, and industries are protected by armed forces, underscoring the importance of investing in security.
Stoltenberg clarified that NATO is not seeking a war with Russia but must prepare for a potential long-term confrontation. He reassured that no NATO country is currently under direct military threat from Russia.
Praising calls by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for stronger support for Ukraine, Stoltenberg urged all allies to increase their assistance to Ukraine, aligning with the European Union (EU) countries' efforts to bolster support.