German arms industry seeks clarity on Ukraine weapons orders
Germany’s defense industry says it stands ready to ramp up its output, including the kinds of arms and ammunition needed by Ukraine, but needs clarity about what governments want before investing in further production capacity. Ukraine became the world’s third largest importer of arms in 2022 after Russia’s invasion triggered a big flow of military aid to Kyiv from the United States and Europe, according to Swedish think tank SIPRI. Some of those arms were transferred from Western military stocks to Ukraine, while in other cases Kyiv has purchased equipment with its own money or funds provided by allies. But there are concerns particularly over the rate at which Ukraine is using ammunition, straining the capacity of Western defense companies to keep both the Ukrainian military and their own resupplied. “What’s important for us as an industry is to get predictability," the head of Germany’s arms manufacturing association said in an interview this week with The Associated Press. Also Read: Germany warns of ‘consequences’ if China sends arms to Russia “That means we have to be clearly told which products are needed within which time,” said Hans Christoph Atzpodien, managing director of the Federation of German Security and Defense Industries. “And we are prepared,” he added. “The industry is much more flexible than it is given credit for.” The association's members, which include major arms manufacturers such as Rheinmetall, can further boost production, such as by reactivating mothballed facilities and machines, and hiring more staff, he said. “Of course we also need a firm basis in the form of orders, so that the investments can be carried out,” said Atzpodien, adding that proposals to bundle purchases at the European rather than the national level could help — provided this doesn't slow down the procurement process. Likewise, German arms manufacturers are keen to see European countries harmonize their export rules to avoid being disadvantaged compared with competitors in some neighboring countries, he said. After initially hesitating to send lethal weapons to Ukraine, Germany has become one of Kyiv's biggest arms suppliers. The shift has already seen Berlin provide Ukraine with dozens of self-propelled Gepard anti-aircraft guns, Iris-T missile systems, howitzers and millions of rounds of ammunition, but left some Germans deeply uneasy about the possibility of being dragged into a conflict with nuclear-armed Russia. Still, Atzpodien said the final decision on where German-made arms can go should remain a matter for the government. “As companies we agree that German weapons must never fall into the wrong hands," he said. The German government declined to comment Monday on reports that Rheinmetall is in talks with Ukraine about building a tank factory in the country. The company's Leopard 2 tanks are urgently sought by Ukraine, which was recently promised several dozen from Western stocks, but officials wouldn't say whether this requires government approval. Germany's own arms procurement has come under scrutiny after Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged last year to increase defense spending to NATO’s target of 2% of GDP and create a 100-billion-euro ($107 billion) special fund. On Tuesday, parliament’s commissioner for the military lamented the slow pace of Germany’s drive to modernize its armed forces. She noted that none of the 100 billion-euro special fund was actually spent last year, though some major orders were placed. “It is also important to quickly replace equipment that was given to Ukraine” and to speed up maintenance of existing equipment, Eva Hoegl said as she presented her annual report. “The Bundeswehr has too little of everything, and even less since Feb. 24 (2022),” she said. “We have too few tanks to be able to train sufficiently, to exercise … boats and ships are lacking, aircraft are lacking.” Along with the cash coming its way because of the war in Ukraine — Germany's defense minister is also seeking to raise his budget by 10 billion euros a year — the German arms industry is hoping the conflict will mark a turning point in the way military spending is classified in Europe. Some banks and investors in the European Union won't do business with the defense sector because of concerns that it is engaged in unsustainable activity that does more harm than good in the long run, much like fossil fuel producers. Russia's attack on Ukraine had shown the value of military security, said Atzpodien. “Our demand is that products we deliver to the German military or other NATO armed forces, for example, are recognized in such a way by the EU that they support sustainability,” he said. “A signal like that would be important so that actors on the financial markets can adjust to it accordingly.” German arms manufacturers have already come up with a slogan to push their case, he added: “Security is the key to sustainability.”
Germany warns of ‘consequences’ if China sends arms to Russia
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says there would be “consequences” if China sent weapons to Russia for Moscow's war in Ukraine, but he's fairly optimistic that Beijing will refrain from doing so. Scholz's comments came in an interview with CNN that aired Sunday, two days after he met U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington. U.S. officials have warned recently that China could step off the sidelines and begin providing arms and ammunition to Moscow. Ahead of his trip, Scholz had urged Beijing to refrain from sending weapons and instead use its influence to press Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. Also Read: Germany expels 2 Iranian diplomats over death sentence Asked by CNN if he could imagine sanctioning China if it did aid Russia, Scholz replied: “I think it would have consequences, but we are now in a stage where we are making clear that this should not happen, and I’m relatively optimistic that we will be successful with our request in this case, but we will have to look at (it) and we have to be very, very cautious.” He didn't elaborate on the nature of the consequences. Germany has Europe's biggest economy, and China has been its single biggest trading partner in recent years. Back in Germany on Sunday, Scholz was asked after his Cabinet met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen whether he had received concrete evidence from the U.S. that China was considering weapons deliveries and whether he would back sanctions against Beijing if it helped arm Russia. Also Read: Ausbildung in Germany for Non-EU Students including Bangladesh “We all agree that there must be no weapons deliveries, and the Chinese government has stated that it wouldn’t deliver any," the chancellor replied. “That is what we are demanding and we are watching it." He didn't address the sanctions question. Von der Leyen said that “we have no evidence for this so far, but we must observe it every day.” She said that whether the European Union would sanction China for giving Russia military aid “is a hypothetical question that can only be answered if it were to become reality and fact.”
6 Rohingya robbers detained with foreign arms in Cox’s Bazar
Members of Coast Guard (CG) detained six Rohingya robbers with 14 foreign arms, 486 rounds of bullets and 20,000 pieces of Yaba pills from the estuary of Naf River and Bay of Bengal on Tuesday. Lieutenant Commandant Md Mohiuddin of the CG Teknaf station, at a press conference, said acting on a tip-off, they came to know that a group of the Rohingya robbers was taking preparations for committing robbery in the estuary of the Naf River and Bay of Bengal. Read more: 4 members of a gang of robbers arrested A team of the CG conducted a drive in the estuary and detained the Rohingya robbers with the arms, he said. With information revealed from the detainees another drive was also conducted at Kharer Island and several other arms and drugs were recovered, the CG officer said. In the primary interrogation, the detainees admitted that they had been involved with the robbery for a long time, he said, adding that they were residents of Ukhia and Teknaf camps. Read more: 9 ‘robbers’ arrested in Gazipur The Rohingyas set up a den at the isolated Kharer Island to carry out criminal activities smoothly to dodge the eyes of law enforcers, he added.
Goods worth Tk134 crore seized in November: BGB
Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has said it seized goods, arms, and drugs worth Tk134.37 crore in November. The seized items include 521,989 yaba pills, 2.162kg crystal meth, 12,576 bottles of Phensedyl, 18,910 bottles of foreign liquor, 214 litres of local liquor, 1,315 cans of beer, 1,881kg hemp, 4kg heroin, 23,974 stimulant injections, 8,592 Eskuf syrups, and 1,618 bottles of MkDil/Cofidil, Shariful Islam, public relations officer of the BGB headquarters, said Friday. Read more: BGB, BSF agree to cut border killings Also, 55.546kg gold, 7kg silver, 212,563 cosmetics, 10,494 imitation jewellery, 17,424 sarees, 6,011 three-piece sets, blankets and shirt pieces; 1,631 pieces of readymade garments, 2,989 cubic feet of timber, 6,080kg tea leaves, 78,533kg coal, one touchstone idol, 68 motorcycles, two trucks/covered vans, five pickup vans, 24 CNG and battery-run auto-rickshaws were also seized. The seized arms include seven pistols, eight guns, as many cocktails, 24 mortar shells, 56 rounds of bullets, and a magazine. Read more: Gold bars worth Tk22 crore seized at Benapole: BGB Also, legal action was taken against 216 smugglers, 104 Bangladesh nationals and six Indian nationals for illegally crossing the border, Shariful said.
BGB seized Tk98 crore goods in October
Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has said it seized goods, including arms and drugs, worth Tk98.05 crore in October. The seized items include 573,393 yaba pills, 2.120kg crystal meth, 13,670 bottles of Phensedyl, 20,227 bottles of foreign liquor, 120 litres of local liquor, 3,815 cans of beer, 2,214kg hemp, 527g heroin, 44,237 stimulant injections, 7,229 Eskuf syrups, and 1,605 bottles of MkDil/Cofidil, Shariful Islam, public relations officer of the BGB headquarters, said Wednesday. Read more: BGB seizes smuggled goods worth Tk 132 crore in May Also, 27.829kg gold, 24.489kg silver, 1,45,977 cosmetics, 5,702 imitation jewellery, 12,364 sarees, 5,323 three-piece sets, blankets and shirt pieces; 2,870 pieces of readymade garments, 3,564 cubic feet of timber, 4,709kg tea leaves, 35,250kg coal, one touchstone idol, 81 motorcycles, 7 trucks/covered vans, 10 pickup vans, 19 CNG and battery-run auto-rickshaws, and a car were also seized. The seized arms include four pistols, three guns, 29 rounds of bullets, and four magazines. Also, legal action was taken against 229 smugglers, 119 Bangladesh nationals and 11 Indian nationals for illegally crossing the border, Shariful said. Read more: BGB seizes drugs worth Tk 13.5cr in Cox's Bazar
13 fugitives arrested in Benapole
Police on Saturday claimed to have arrested thirteen fugitives wanted in drugs, arms and murder cases in Benapole.However, police didn't disclose the identities of the arrestees.Acting on a tip-off, a team of police conducted simultaneous drives in different areas of Benapole Port area all day on Saturday and arrested them, said Kamal Hossain Bhuiyan, OC of Benapole Port Police Station. Read: 54 arrested at Benapole borderThe arrestees were produced before the court in Jashore under police protection, added the OC.
3 arrested with arms, ammo in Rajshahi planned to create 'anarchy' ahead of polls
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) claimed to have arrested three people and recovered four foreign revolvers, three foreign pistols and a huge amount of ammunitions from Kapashia Pahara area in Rajshahi city on Friday. The arrestees are identified as Md Atikur Rahman alias Atik, 35, son of Md Abdul Matin of Kapashia Parharpur, his cohorts Md Shaheen Ali, 25, son of Md Jhandu Mia of Charkajla and Md Shahidul Islam, 26, son of Md Nekchhar Ai of Dharampur Purbopara in the city respectively. Lieutenant Colonel Riaz Shahriar, commandant of the Rab-5, disclosed this information at a press conference in the Rab office of the city. Read: Arms, ammo recovered from Rajshahi border He said on information a team of the elite force conducted a drive at house of Atik and recovered four foreign revolvers, three foreign pistols, four magazines, eight rounds of bullet, 1.1 kilogram of gunpowder, 750 gram of stone used in making bomb and cocktail, other ammunitions, two mobile phone sets and four SIM cards. With information revealed from Atik, the elite force also arrested Shaheen and Shahidul from separate places in the city, he said. “The arrestees informed us that Rajshahi University’s students Tanjim, 27, and Md Abdur Rahim, 28, supplied the arms to them after collecting from an unknown place on Indian border,” he said. The varsity’s students are members of an anti-liberation force and their main target is to destabilise stability of the country, he said adding that drives are on to nab them. Replying to a question, the Rab officer said they had information the arrestees gathered the arms and ammunitions to create anarchy in Rajshahi as well as the country ahead of the next parliament elections.
Three killed in Noakhali during 'shootout between robbers'
Police in Noakhali's Hatia have reported the deaths of three men in what it described as a "shootout between two gangs of robbers," which erupted over a turf war, in Char Ghasia of Noakhali's Hatia early Thursday. The deceased were identified as Shahraj (35), Kabir (40) and Nurunnabi (45), Hatia Police Station Office-in-Charge Amir Hossain told UNB. Their bodies have been kept at Hatia's Chairman Ghat Police Outpost and will be sent to Noakhali 250 Bed General Hospital for autopsies early Friday, he added. Earlier, Bangladesh Coast Guard claimed to have detained five robbers with arms following the turf battle. The detainees are Md Hinju, 37, of Noakhali's Char Jabbar; Mohammad Harun, 37, of Lakshmipur's Ramgati, Mohammad Liton, 35, from the district's Char Gazi village, Mohammad Mosharof, 36, of Abdul Munshirhat Kalkini village and Azim Bepari, 27, of Char Abdullah village. During its drive, Coast Guard seized three single-shot rifles, two rounds of bullets, six machetes, five spears and many iron rods from them. According to locals, two robbers, who are also brothers, Khokon and Fakhrul were at loggerheads over establishing supremacy in Char Ghasia. Recently, Fakhrul took hold of the area after the law enforcers caught Khokon. Coming out of jail on bail a few days ago, Khokon tried to regain his hold. So, the dispute between the two brothers resurfaced and led to today's gunfight. Lieutenant Shafiul Kinjol, media officer of BCG Hatia, said: "Legal action will be taken against the detainees."
Illegal arms factory unearthed in Chattogram, One held
Rab on Wednesday unearthed an illegal arms factory in a drive through a dense forested hill in Banshkhali upazila of Chattogram district on Tuesday. The elite force also detained one person identified as Zakir Hossain alias Zakerullah, 50 and seized 10 firearms including eight one-shutter guns during the drive, said commanding officer of Rab-7 Lieutenant Colonel MA Yusuf. Tipped off, Rab conducted a drive at Chambal Forest and busted the arms factory at a house of one Abdur Rahman at Natunpara in the upazila, said Col Yusuf told a press briefing held at Chandgaon Rab office. Rab also seized two pistols and huge firearms making materials from the spot. Zakir is believed to be the arms maker, said Rab. Rab also said three syndicates have been involved in illegal making, sale and purchase of arms in the remote area Also read: Man held with 2 firearms, ammunition in Satkhira During primary interrogation, Zakir said pirates, drug peddlers and highway robbers are their main customers. Each of the arms sells between Tk 5000 and 10,000, he said.
Uploading images on FB showing arms: BCL leader held in Rajshahi
–A local leader of Bangladesh Chhatra League, who’s images holding firearms went viral on social networking site Facebook, was held from Rajshahi on Monday, said Rab. The arrestee is Abu Bakar Siddique alias Ratul, son of Mostafa Kamal of Sujanagar upazila in Pabna district. He is the vice-president of Manikhat union unit of BCL. Tipped off, a team of Rab detained Ratul from Boalia area in Rajshahi city in the morning, said Commanding officer of Rab-5, Lieutenant Colonel Reaz Shahrier at a press briefing at Rab-5 headquarters here. Also read: BCL leader expelled on allegation of abducting, torturing youth in Satkhira The images of Ratul holding firearms in his hand that went viral on Facebook drew a huge flack and since then he remained absconding. According to his statement, Rab members also seized one pistol, one magazine and three bullets from Sagarpara area of the city. Ratul confessed that uploaded the photos on FB to inform people that he keeps arms with him and establish himself as a criminal. Also read: BCL leader, 5 others held for cheating in teachers’ recruitment test