China and Russia are well armed, but European military warehouses are empty, Rheinmetall CEO says
Armin Papperger (Photo: EPA)

China and Russia are well armed, so Western countries, in particular Germany, should increase defense spending, said the CEO of the Rheinmetall defense conglomerate Armin Papperger, according to Süddeutsche Zeitung.

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"The Western world is not ready for a conventional war," he said, adding that Russia and China are "well armed."

According to Papperger, Germany's defense budget should be increased by 30 billion euros per year. If these 30 billion are not invested in Germany, the "pivot" will not happen.

Over the past two years, Germany has brought "almost nothing" into its military warehouses, Papperger added. In order to replenish the stocks of artillery ammunition, production should last ten years.

According to the head of Rheinmetall, Germany is not the only country with this problem.

"Whether it's Italy, whether it's Spain, whether it's France – all warehouses are empty, of all types of conventional ammunition," he concluded.

In January 2024, Rheinmetall announced it would build a new plant for the production of large-caliber ammunition, particularly for Ukraine.

Also, Rheinmetall plans to launch its plant in Ukraine in 2024, and half a year after launch, it plans to produce the first Fuchs armored personnel carrier.

On February 12, Rheinmetall began building a new Werk Niedersachsen ammunition plant in Germany. According to plans, it will start working in a year, and in three years it will reach the planned capacity of 200,000 artillery shells.