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Germany considers conscription for teenagers over fears of all out war with Russia

Germany is believed to be considering the introduction of conscription for people aged 18 and over in the face of Vladimir Putin’s increasingly belligerent rhetoric.

Three alternative plans are understood to be up for discussion, including two which involve a year of compulsory military service for teenagers.

Boris Pistorius, Germany’s defence minister, is likely to go public with his proposals next month, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Speaking during a visit to Washington last month, Mr Pistorius said he was “convinced” his country needed “a form of military conscription”.

He also criticised as a “mistake” the decision to scrap national service in 2011, under the Chancellorship of Angela Merkel, the predecessor of current leader Olaf Scholz.

One idea being looked at would involve both men and women – in contrast to Germany’s previous policy, which only applied to men.

Including women would be a radical shift – but insiders reportedly believe it would “most likely receive societal approval”.

A second idea would only involve men, but not everyone would be chosen. Males aged 18 and over would fill in an online form and could be selected for service at a later date.

The third option would not involve conscription, but would instead prioritise the optimisation of Germany’s military using more proactive recruitment campaigns.

Concern is mounting in the West at Putin’s sabre-rattling, not least his declaration during a speech on May 9 that his country’s nuclear forces were “at full combat readiness”.

Speaking in Red Square on Victory Day, when Russia marks the anniversary of the end of World War 2 in 1945, Putin hailed the troops fighting in Ukraine as “our heroes” for their courage, resilience and self-denial, adding that “all of Russia is with you.”

He claimed the West was “fuelling regional conflicts, inter-ethnic and inter-religious strife and trying to contain sovereign and independent centres of global development.”

The 71-year-old former KGB officer added: “Russia will do everything to prevent global confrontation, but will not allow anyone to threaten us.

“Our strategic forces are in combat readiness.”

Nuclear-capable Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles were pulled across Red Square, underscoring his message.

Ukraine last month cut its its draft-eligible age for men from 27 to 25 on Wednesday in a clear indication of the pressure his country is under more than two years since Putin’s invasion in February 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed three bills into law aimed at strengthening the country’s beleaguered forces, which are trying to hold the front lines in fighting that has sapped Ukraine’s ranks and stores of weapons and ammunition.


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