Russia says Germany is risking European security by 'remilitarizing'

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FILE PHOTO: Germany to supply Ukraine with Gepard anti-aircraft tanks of the German armed forces Bundeswehr for first time
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(Reuters) -Russia on Friday accused Germany of throwing European security into imbalance by "remilitarizing", as Berlin moves to boost its military spending in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

In comments published in German newspapers this week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Berlin would soon have the largest conventional army of NATO's European members.

"We perceive the statement of the German Chancellor as yet another confirmation that Berlin has set a course for an accelerated remilitarization of the country. How could this end? Alas, this is well known from history," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Scholz pledged in February to sharply increase defence spending and inject 100 billion euros ($107.39 billion) into Germany's armed forces, marking a major policy shift for the military after decades of attrition following the end of the Cold War. Lawmakers were expected to vote on the spending plan on Friday.

The money is to be used over several years to increase Germany's regular defence budget of around 50 billion euros and enable the country to meet the NATO target of spending 2% of its economic output on defence each year.

Russia has sharply criticised the move, which Berlin announced shortly after Moscow invaded Ukraine.

"At a time when it is necessary to look for opportunities to reduce common threats, Germany, on the contrary, takes the path of escalating the military-political situation on the European continent, directing tens of billions of euros to increase the critical mass of weapons," Zakharova said

Russia calls its invasion a "special military operation" to disarm and "denazify" its neighbour. Ukraine and allies call this a baseless pretext for a war that has killed thousands, flattened cities, and forced more than 6 million people to flee abroad.

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(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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