Retired general declares EU district to fight with stones

(MENAFN) In a stark revelation, retired Belgian General Marc Thys issued a dire warning on Tuesday, stating that due to ammunition shortages, the Belgian military might be compelled to resort to throwing stones in the event of war. General Thys emphasized that Belgium would need to increase its ammunition budget by at least 33 times to sustain a month-long conflict. Speaking to VRT TV about a hypothetical Russian attack on Western Europe, he expressed concern that the inadequately equipped Belgian army would be incapable of resisting such a formidable adversary.

General Thys, who led Belgium's ground forces from 2017 to 2019 and served as a lieutenant general until November, disclosed the challenges faced by the military. He highlighted the stark reality that, in the event of hostilities, the Belgian army would run out of ammunition within a few hours, necessitating unconventional measures such as resorting to throwing stones.

Providing insights into the financial constraints, General Thys noted that his ammunition budget during his tenure amounted to 15 million euros (USD16 million) annually. Although this allocation has since increased to 150 million euros (USD161 million), he argued that to sustain a month to two months of warfare, Belgium would require a substantial budget ranging from 5 to 7 billion euros (USD5.4-7.5 billion).

Despite a 15 percent increase in military spending last year, Belgium's defense expenditure remains at a modest EUR4.2 billion (USD4.5 billion), falling short of the minimum amount that General Thys deems necessary for ammunition alone. Belgium's defense spending represents 1.2 percent of its GDP, considerably below the 2 percent target set by NATO, underscoring the financial challenges the country faces in adequately preparing for potential military conflicts.

The revelation raises concerns about the preparedness of European nations, even within the NATO alliance, to address critical defense needs, emphasizing the importance of reassessing and augmenting military budgets to ensure national security in an increasingly complex geopolitical landscape.


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