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Germany investigates leaked recording of alleged discussion on missile supplies to Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 2, 2024 10:56 PM 2 min read
A South Korean Air Force F-15K fighter jet flying with a Taurus long-range air-to-surface missile during an exercise in Taean-gun, South Korea on Sept. 12, 2017. (South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)
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The German military intelligence has opened an investigation into an alleged leaked conversation between German officers published by Russian state media, German public broadcaster ARD reported on March 2.

The recording was published on March 1 by Margarita Simonyan, chief editor of Kremlin-controlled TV channel RT. It is alleged to be a conversation between German military officials about the possible delivery of Taurus long-range missiles and the training of Ukrainian troops.

In that recording, the interlocutors allegedly discussed the possibility of Ukraine using Taurus missiles to strike targets such as the Crimean Bridge and mentioned that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had not approved the transfer yet. They also said that Ukrainian soldiers could be trained to use the missiles.

The German Defense Ministry confirmed to ARD that a conversation of Air Force personnel had been intercepted. The ministry's spokeswoman said that Berlin "cannot currently say with certainty whether changes were made to the recorded or written version that is circulating on social media."

According to media reports, Germany's Air Force Chief Ingo Gerhartz was among the participants of the conversation, which is alleged to be a preparation for a briefing with Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.

Calling it "a very serious matter," Scholz vowed that the situation is "being clarified very carefully, very intensively, and very quickly."

German TV Channel ZDF reported on March 2 that such a conversation had taken place, citing its sources in the German Armed Forces.

The wiretapping scandal comes as Scholz continues to oppose Germany's provision of Taurus missiles due to what he perceives as risks of Berlin being drawn into the war in Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Scholz voiced fears that "if used incorrectly, (Taurus missiles) could reach a target in Moscow."

Taurus missiles, which have a range of up to 500 kilometers (310 miles), have been a subject of extensive discussion since Ukraine submitted a request to acquire the weapons in May 2023.

Ukraine is also using British-made Storm Shadow missiles with a range of over 250 kilometers (155 miles) to effectively strike Russian targets, such as the Black Sea Fleet headquarters.

The U.K. government has discreetly urged Berlin to supply Taurus long-range missiles to Ukraine, as Germany refuses to greenlight this critical capability, Bloomberg reported on March 1.

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