Displaying items by tag: army
The German defence minister told the armed forces that reported racist and sexual abuse in a German platoon based in Lithuania has put their entire reputation at risk. The most recent incidents were a sexual assault against another soldier, singing anti-Semitic songs, and in April singing songs to mark Hitler’s birthday. There is a pattern of far-right extremism in the army: a soldier allegedly racially abused a non-white fellow soldier, and four German soldiers made animal noises when a black French soldier walked past. Far-right incidents in the elite KSK commando unit triggered calls for it to be disbanded as it had become partly independent of the chain of command. Police seized explosives and weapons at the home of a KSK soldier. Military intelligence said there were almost 600 suspected far-right supporters in the army, the KSK being a particular problem. Twenty members are suspected of right-wing extremism.
A long-simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine is escalating into a flashpoint for superpower rivalry, as a Russian military build-up is met by the deployment of two American warships to the Black Sea. Putin has ordered the largest movement of troops, tanks and missiles along the Ukrainian border since the Crimea 2014 invasion. About 85,000 troops, tanks, missile trucks, armoured vehicles and long-range guns are being transported by train to Crimea and strategic locations near the disputed region. Amongst the armoury are anti-aircraft missile systems last used in 2014 to destroy a civilian Boeing 777 over Ukraine, killing 298 people. Many fear Moscow is on the point of a full-scale invasion, and see the Ukrainian authorities preparing for this possibility. Putin's deputy chief of staff said Ukraine faced 'disintegration' if it pushed Russia into war. Meanwhile Washington is flying reconnaissance planes to monitor Russian activity. See also
An army document has been discovered instructing soldiers to ‘punish and break down’ ethnic-minority Christians and anyone objecting to the military regime. The discovery came as the army ramped up armed patrols in Karen and Kachin States. Since December 2020, the military have increased ceasefire violations in Karen State, shelling villages in order to clear land for new roads and military installations. The official document states military personnel should fire 12mm weapons (equivalent to a machine gun) at individuals or use a 38mm weapon (a gun to launch grenades) on groups of civilians. The directives include special instructions to round up any dissenting civilian doctors and nurses and to report on any local leaders who are not fully cooperating with the military. There are many Christians amongst both the Karen and the Kachin ethnic groups, and thousands of Christian villagers fled to remote jungle areas when persecution began.
Ministry of Defence data show that numbers in infantry units have consistently been falling over the past five years. Some UK combat regiments are operating at almost 40% less than their required strength, due to declining recruitment numbers. A quarterly report noted a 7.6% drop in army personnel on 1 January. Defence secretary Ben Wallace has been urged to address the issue. Tory MP Bob Seely criticised the firm Capita, which began managing recruitment for the MoD in 2012. He said, ‘I’m afraid to say that Capita have not been a success. If you talk to people who are wanting to go into the Army, the most common way they describe it is shambolic and chaotic.’ A Capita spokesperson said that they are in the middle of a re-set, which started last year but is already seeing excellent results.
Rev Mathew Sukada, from Jos, has cautioned Nigerians, ‘Do not kill yourselves over politicians; they do not even know you and will reconcile with each other long after you are gone’. He said some politicians were more concerned about their personal interests, and cautioned youths against being used as thugs to kill and destroy. ‘Politicians seeking to use you for selfish reasons will offer you peanuts to fight and kill for them. When you get killed, they won’t remember you. When you get injured, they won’t have time for you. When you are caught, they will deny you. You must learn to be wise and protect yourselves against destruction. As Christians, you have a duty to serve only God, your Creator.’ An army commander told troops, ‘Let me warn and remind you of the need to remain apolitical in the performance of your duties during the election period. Defaulters will be severely dealt with. You must be professional, patriotic and respectful of the rights of citizens.’ See
The European Intervention Initiative (EII), a military coalition ready to react to crises near the continent's borders, was launched in Paris on 7 November amid calls by French president Emmanuel Macron for a ‘real European army’. The French-led initiative would not conflict with the almost 70-year-old US-dominated NATO alliance, proponents say, but reflects concerns about a more isolationist USA under President Trump. The EII took official shape in Paris after months of negotiations with Germany, which France wants at the centre of the force. It will see members collaborate on planning, the analysis of new military and humanitarian crises, and eventual military responses to those crises. ‘In an environment where threats and upheavals nature are multiplying, the EII must send the message that Europe is ready and capable’, a French defence ministry official said.
There are particular demands and challenges that come out of the special nature of life in the Army. The Army recognises this, and many layers of welfare support are available. Pray for the Army Welfare Service, delivering a comprehensive and confidential service for the needs of regular soldiers and their families living abroad, or families separated by overseas postings. Pray for the unique family set-ups in army base communities, and for the wellbeing of Army reservists, and, in certain circumstances, veterans. Pray also for God to bless the confidential chaplaincy support that is available (regardless of faith) for all family members of service personnel and those dealing with casualties of war. Community development workers also need our prayers as they provide projects focusing on the learning and personal development activities of children, young people, and their families, both in the UK and overseas.