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29 Feb, 2024 09:35

Scholz slammed for revealing UK troop presence in Ukraine

The chancellor said giving Kiev long-range missiles would require assistance from German troops, citing London’s example
Scholz slammed for revealing UK troop presence in Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has come under fire from the UK after he suggested that there were British troops operating in the Ukraine conflict. Explaining why Berlin would not supply Kiev with long-range Taurus missiles, Scholz said it would require German military personnel on the ground providing assistance.

He went on to say that Taurus “is a very long-range weapon, and what was done on the part of the British and French in terms of target-control and target-control assistance can’t be done in Germany.”

Commenting on Scholz’s remark, Tobias Ellwood, the former chair of the British Commons defense committee, said it was “a flagrant abuse of intelligence deliberately designed to distract from Germany’s reluctance to arm Ukraine with its own long-range missile system,” as quoted by The Telegraph. The British lawmaker was also sure that the statement would be “used by Russia to rachet up the escalator ladder.”

“German soldiers can at no point and in no place be linked with the targets that this system reaches,” Scholz insisted, even if operating from German soil, according to the DPA news agency.

The German chancellor stated that it would be “not very responsible” for his country to risk becoming a “party to the war.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Financial Times quoted an anonymous senior European defense official as saying that “everyone knows there are Western special forces in Ukraine – they’ve just not acknowledged it officially.”

Addressing the press following a summit of Kiev’s backers in Paris on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron noted that “in terms of dynamics, we cannot exclude anything,” referring to a potential ground deployment of Western militaries.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg however hastened to clarify that there were “no plans for NATO combat troops on the ground in Ukraine.” This was followed by similar assurances by the leaders of Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Finland.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that such a development would mean that “we have to talk not about the probability, but rather the inevitability” of an all-out military confrontation between NATO and Russia.