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17 Jan, 2024 23:46

German lawmakers vote down Taurus missiles for Ukraine

The Bundestag has rejected a resolution calling for long-range rockets to be provided to Kiev
German lawmakers vote down Taurus missiles for Ukraine

Germany’s parliament has overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to give Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine, marking the latest setback for proponents of providing longer-range weapons for Kiev to use against Russia.

The resolution was defeated on Wednesday evening by a 485-178 margin, as only two Bundestag members outside the opposition CDU/CSU faction voted in favor.

The final decision on sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine will be left to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has previously rejected such aid over concerns that it could trigger a wider conflict by putting more Russian territory in Kiev’s striking range.

Bundestag Defense Committee Chairwoman Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmerman blamed the resolution’s defeat on partisan gamesmanship. She argued that by linking the missile proposal to a debate on the state of Germany’s military, the CDU/CSU was trying to “pull off a clumsy PR stunt.”

As a result, even many of the lawmakers who support sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine voted against Wednesday’s resolution. Strack-Zimmerman said that in any case, a request that includes the missiles, as well as other Ukraine aid, will be sent to Scholz by sometime in February at the latest.

The chancellor has faced increasing pressure to relent on the Taurus issue, ever since the UK and France agreed last year to provide similar long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine.

The German-made Taurus has a range of about 500km (300 miles) and can carry a warhead weighing nearly 500kg (1,100 pounds) to its target. Proponents of supplying Kiev with these missiles have argued that they could be used to help Ukrainian forces disrupt Russian supply lines.

Russian leaders have insisted that giving Western weaponry to Ukraine is only prolonging the conflict – causing more bloodshed and creating greater risk of escalation – without having any impact on the final outcome.