Germany debates buying Israeli missile defense system

German officials are discussing whether to buy Israel’s Arrow 3 anti-missile system, the government said Monday, adding that Berlin had to rethink potential threats posed by Russia in light of the war in Ukraine.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government is in the “preliminary stage of a discussion” about acquiring the system, chief spokesman Steffen Hebestreit told reporters.

Scholz himself told talk show host Anne Will in a TV interview Sunday evening that purchasing the system “is certainly one of the things we are discussing, for good reason.”

Earlier on Sunday, newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported that Berlin was considering purchasing the Arrow 3 missile shield, which is capable of intercepting long-range ballistic missiles at high altitudes such as the stratosphere. The system would cost €2 billion and could be operational by 2025, the report said.

Russia has stationed Iskander missiles in its Kaliningrad exclave that could reach many European cities like Berlin within minutes and that fly too high to be destroyed by conventional air defense systems. Scholz said Sunday evening that Germany and the EU must make sure Moscow cannot use this threat to blackmail Europe into making concessions.

“We must all prepare ourselves for the fact that we have a neighbor that is currently prepared to use force to assert its interests. That’s why we have to work together to make sure that doesn’t happen,” he said.

Hebestreit specified that there were no concrete purchase discussions yet, but added that when it came to potential threats from Moscow, “we have to rethink some of the questions that we have been assessing differently over the past few years.”

Scholz announced last month that his government would set up a special €100 billion fund to ramp up defense spending in Germany.

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