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Germany replaces the head of the Bundeswehr armed forces

March 13, 2023

Following highly criticized comments last year, the head of Germany's Bundeswehr is being replaced. Major General Carsten Breuer helped manage Germany's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Major General Carsten Breuer
Major General Carsten Breuer is set to take over as the highest-ranking soldier in GermanyImage: Christoph Soeder/dpa/picture alliance

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has named Major General Carsten Breuer as the new head of Germany's armed forces, German media reported Monday.

Breuer, 59, is replacing General Eberhard Zorn, 63, who had come under fire for his flawed analysis of Russian and Ukrainian military capabilities.

Breuer gained renown for leading Germany's pandemic crisis response team from November 2021 to 2022.

His ascent to the role of "general inspector" of the Bundeswehr will make him the highest-ranking soldier in the country.

A shake-up in the military

Zorn was criticized after giving an interview in September in which he suggested that Ukraine would not be able to counter attacks by Russian forces.

He told Focus magazine that Ukraine was mounting "counter-attacks, with which one can win back places or individual areas of the frontlines, but not push Russia back over a broad front."

Ben Hodges, the former commanding general of the US Army Europe, in particular, slammed Zorn's "stunningly poor analysis of Russian capabilities" after the latter expressed fears that Russia could open further fronts, possibly targeting " Kaliningrad, the Baltic Sea, the Finnish border, Georgia, Moldova."

German media reported that Zorn will be sent into early retirement on Thursday.

The replacement of Germany's top military official comes just months after former Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht was forced to resign and was replaced by Pistorius in January.

Breuer is set to also function as a decision-maker in the defense ministry as well as serving as a military advisor to Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

He will take over the top position in the Bundeswehr as Germany seeks to boost its military capabilities following an announcement last year by Scholz that it would invest €100 billion ($107.5 billion) in the military after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Revamp of Germany’s armed forces stalls

ab/ar (AFP, dpa)

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