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German chancellor attends groundbreaking for new ammunition factory

Published February 12,2024

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Defence Minister Boris Pistorius are expected at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ammunition factory on Monday.

Defence contractor Rheinmetall will produce artillery ammunition at the new factory in the small town of Unterlüss, north of Hanover.

Unterlüss is already a major production site for Rheinmetall. It is also where the Puma infantry fighting vehicle is manufactured, among other equipment.

The war in Ukraine opened a new chapter for Rheinmetall. Its weapons and ammunition systems are in high demand as European countries seek to ramp up arms production for Kiev and replenish their own stocks.

The European Union admitted recently it won't meet its target of sending 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine by March.

Just days after Russian troops crossed the border into Ukraine in February 2022, Scholz pledged what he called a "Zeitenwende" - a "turning point" - in German defence policy.

Scholz announced a one-off rearmament programme worth €100 billion ($107 billion) to upgrade the Bundeswehr in the interest of national and collective EU defence. But the sluggish pace of the enhancements has increasingly come under fire.