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Ex-German president calls for Germany to deliver Taurus missiles to Ukraine

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 7, 2024 1:57 PM 2 min read
20 October 2023, Baden-Württemberg, Mannheim: Joachim Gauck, former German President, speaks at the University of Mannheim on Oct. 20, 2023. (Uwe Anspach/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Former German President Joachim Gauck called for Germany to supply Ukraine with long-range Taurus missiles in an interview published by the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag on Jan. 7.

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

Bild reported in October that Olaf Scholz is against sending Taurus missiles to Kyiv because he fears the move will draw Germany into the war. Ukraine has received other long-range missiles, such as the Storm Shadow from the U.K. and the French-made SCALP.

The missiles would be "used solely inside our borders," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in August. "The longer the missile range, the shorter the war," he argued.

Gauck, who was president of Germany between 2012 and 2017, told Bild that "given the grueling trench warfare and the heinous airstrikes on the Ukrainian civilian population," Berlin should supply Taurus missiles.

"I have spoken to people who have the necessary military knowledge," Gauck said. "After these discussions, I can no longer understand why we are hesitant to deliver this weapon."

"There is no international law ban on supporting an attacked victim with weapons," and Ukraine should be supplied with "everything we have at our disposal."

"A Russian victory would also threaten the security of other European states in the medium term," Gauck said.

According to German news outlet T-online, Markus Soder, the prime minister of the German state of Bavaria, also spoke out in support of sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine on Jan. 6.

A delivery of Taurus missiles represents "the only serious chance for Ukraine to find new courage and for the Russians not to win," Soder reportedly said during the winter retreat of his party, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria.

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