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25 Feb, 2024 07:55

Germany still undecided on long-range weapons for Ukraine – FM

Berlin has resisted calls to send Taurus missiles to Kiev, fearing it could trigger an escalation
Germany still undecided on long-range weapons for Ukraine – FM

German policymakers are still debating whether Berlin should supply Ukraine with long-range weapons such as Taurus missiles that Kiev has been demanding for months, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said.

Speaking at a meeting with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmitry Kuleba in Odessa on Saturday that coincided with the second anniversary of the eruption of the conflict with Russia, Baerbock acknowledged that the West was not delivering enough arms to Kiev and added that Ukraine needed “much more ammunition, much more air defense, much more artillery.” 

“We’re racking our brains, especially through the past year, about the issue of how to deliver more, including long-range weapons systems”, she added, although she did not specifically mention Taurus missiles.

The latter can be equipped with a 500-kilogram warhead and has a range of about 500km, meaning that Ukraine could potentially use them to strike Moscow.

In light of this, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had previously explained that delivering this kind of weapon could further escalate the conflict.

Baerbock’s comments came after the German parliament on Thursday rejected a motion by the opposition CDU/CSU faction to deliver Taurus missiles to Ukraine. On the same day, however, German MPs backed an initiative by the country’s ruling coalition that called for providing Kiev with “additional, necessary long-range weapons systems and ammunition.” However, Taurus missiles were not mentioned.

In January, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius signaled that Taurus deliveries to Kiev were out of the question for the time being, noting that Berlin must “keep an eye on its own defense capabilities,” which means that it can’t go “all in” for Ukraine.

Ukraine has already received long-range Storm Shadow and SCALP missiles from the UK and France, respectively. Moscow has repeatedly accused Kiev of using this type of weaponry to target civilians.

Russia has consistently denounced Western arms shipments to Ukraine, warning that they will only prolong the conflict without changing its ultimate outcome. Moscow has also said that by pumping Kiev with weapons, the West becomes complicit in its war crimes.