Amid Dire Warnings About Russia, Europe Has A Troop Problem

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SUBSCRIBER+EXCLUSIVE REPORTING — When France’s President Emmanuel Macron warned that Europe might have to send troops to Ukraine to stop Russia from advancing elsewhere in Europe, it was only the most extreme in a series of warnings that Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t stop at Ukraine – and that Poland, the Baltic states and other parts of the continent must prepare for Russian aggression. But in many European nations, where military recruitment lags and armies are a fraction of their Cold War size, experts and defense officials worry that military preparedness hasn’t matched the level of concern. 

On Thursday, German defense minister Boris Pistorius told a forum in Washington that Germany must renew the draft it abolished in 2011. “I’m convinced that Germany needs some kind of military conscription,” Pistorius said at the American-German Institute. “We need to ensure our military staying power in a state of national or collective defense.” He’s expected to present a formal proposal for conscription this month, as Germany moves to reorganize its military and add 20,000 troops over the next seven years. 

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