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    HomeWorldPistorius wants to send 700 Bundeswehr soldiers to the Red Sea

    Pistorius wants to send 700 Bundeswehr soldiers to the Red Sea

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    The EU has agreed on a military operation in the Red Sea. Germany also wants to take part in the operation. An overview.

    The most important things at a glance


    The foreign ministers of the EU countries have decided to launch a new military operation to protect merchant ships in the Red Sea and neighboring sea areas. According to the Bundestag's decision on Friday, up to 700 Bundeswehr soldiers will take part in the operation.

    Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said during a visit to the frigate “Hessen” in Crete on Tuesday: “One can say without exaggeration that it is the most serious, the most dangerous operation of the Navy in decades.” It's about protecting international law, freedom, security on the seas, but also about stabilizing trade routes and the entire region.

    A direct attack by the Houthis on the German frigate cannot be ruled out. “That’s part of the operational preparation, being prepared for it.” At the same time, he emphasized that it was a defensive operation. “We are only traveling with the frigate to repel attacks with drones, with missiles, with whatever on the ships that pass through here.” It's not about hitting Houthi positions on the mainland like the Americans and British did.

    German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Monday about the decision in Brussels: “We have seen that the Houthis' attacks on civilian shipping will affect the entire global economy.” It is not just European ships that are repeatedly endangered by Houthi missiles in the Red Sea, but also all international shipping. “That's why it's important for us that we as the European Union make a contribution to protecting civilian shipping in the Red Sea.”

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    The operation called “Aspides” is considered particularly dangerous compared to other current operations. Why is this the case and how will Germany participate? Questions and answers at a glance:

    What is the mission about?

    The primary goal is to protect merchant ships from attacks by the militant Islamist Houthis from Yemen. The militia wants to force an end to the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip by shelling ships, which followed the unprecedented massacre by the terrorist organization Hamas in Israel on October 7th. You can read more about the Houthi rebels here.

    Can't the ships just take a different route?

    Theoretically yes. However, the route past the coast of Yemen is by far the shortest when it comes to shipping goods between Asia and Europe. It leads from the Gulf of Aden across the Bab al-Mandab Strait into the Red Sea and then through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. The alternative route around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa is several thousand kilometers longer – this results in increasing transport costs and delivery delays.

    How is Germany participating?

    The federal government is sending the 143 meter long frigate “Hessen” into action. The Bundestag approved the mandate on Friday. The ship, which left Wilhelmshaven on February 8th, is equipped with anti-aircraft missiles and was specifically designed for escort and maritime control. There are around 240 soldiers on board. Read more about the frigate's equipment here.

    Video | These weapon systems make the frigate “Hessen” the navy’s gold standard

    Source: Glomex

    According to the Bundeswehr, the ship can use its special radar to monitor airspace the size of the North Sea. The weapon systems are capable of engaging enemies at a distance of up to 160 kilometers. Germany also wants to provide staff for the EU mission staff. The mandate is limited to the end of February 2025 and was approved by 538 MPs in the roll-call vote, 31 voted against and 4 abstained.

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