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5 Mar, 2024 08:25

UK weighs in on Luftwaffe leak

Berlin should go ahead and donate Taurus missiles to Kiev despite the intercepted call involving top military brass, London believes
UK weighs in on Luftwaffe leak

The UK has urged Germany and other Western nations to donate long-range weapons to Ukraine despite a leaked tape of top German military commanders discussing how Taurus missiles could be used to destroy key civilian infrastructure in Russia.

The UK and France have already provided dozens of air-launched Storm Shadow and SCALP missiles to Kiev, which they produce jointly. In the leaked recording released last Friday, high-ranking German officers discussed a proposal to donate Taurus missiles and what actions Berlin would have to take for them to be deployed and for plausible deniability of German involvement to be maintained.

They also mentioned that London and Paris were reluctant to send more of their weapons unless Berlin tapped its own arsenal.

The leak is “obviously a matter for Germany to investigate,” a spokesman for the British government said on Monday.

“On our part, the UK was the first country to provide long-range precision strike missiles to Ukraine and we would encourage our allies to do the same,” the official added.

Meanwhile, Germany’s leadership has framed the revelation as part of Moscow’s “information war” against the West. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Sunday: “It is a hybrid disinformation attack. It is about division. It is about undermining our unity.”

The recording was released by RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan, who reported receiving it from people “in uniforms.” Germany has confirmed that the conversation between General Ingo Gerhartz, the head of the German Air Force, and his senior aides was authentic.

The idea of Germany providing Taurus missiles to Ukraine has been a thorny issue for Chancellor Olaf Scholtz. Following the leak, he reiterated his position that control over what the weapons would target could only be guaranteed by having German troops on the ground in Ukraine, a development he ruled out. The missiles have a reported range of over 500km, meaning they could conceivably be used to attack Moscow, according to German media.

Russian officials have interpreted the discussion as evidence that the German military was preparing for war with Russia – a notion that Berlin rejected – and have called it a disgrace for Berlin. Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, mentioned the leak in a speech on Monday and also brought up “other tapes” that have not been made public.