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13 Mar, 2024 14:57

German chancellor names Ukraine ‘red line’

Olaf Scholz has reiterated his stance against escalating the conflict with Russia
German chancellor names Ukraine ‘red line’

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told lawmakers in the Bundestag on Wednesday that he will not approve arming Ukraine with Berlin's long-range Taurus cruise missiles.

Kiev has been increasingly vocal about its lack of weaponry and ammunition on the front lines, and has long been requesting the German-made missiles in particular. Scholz has been reluctant, warning that Kiev could avail of the weapons long range to strike targets deep inside Russia, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, exacerbating the conflict.

During a plenary session, Scholz reaffirmed his stance to lawmakers, saying the delivery of Taurus missiles was “a line that I don’t want to cross as chancellor.” He added that it would be “irresponsible” to supply the missiles without the participation of German soldiers, who are trained to know “where to aim, shoot and hit.”

It would be necessary to “ensure that there is no involvement of German soldiers when delivering weapons,” and therefore supplying Taurus missiles is “out of the question,” he said.

“As chancellor, I have a responsibility to prevent Germany from becoming involved in this war… Prudence is not something that can be qualified as weakness, as some consider it, but prudence is what our citizens are entitled to,” he stated, stressing the importance of carefully weighing individual decisions regarding Ukraine.

The potential supply of Taurus missiles to Ukraine attracted the attention of the Kremlin after a recording of top German military officials discussing the use of the weapon to potentially destroy Russia’s Crimean Bridge was leaked to RT. The leak prompted former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev to accuse Germany of preparing for a conflict with Russia, which Berlin has denied.

Moscow has repeatedly warned that, by supplying Kiev with weapons, its Western backers are merely prolonging the conflict without affecting its outcome. Russia would prefer to end hostilities and start peace talks, but says it sees no such willingness from either Kiev or its supporters.