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German ambassador: No supply of Taurus missiles to Ukraine for now

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 19, 2023 7:57 PM 2 min read
A visitor walks past a guide missile ground target KEPD 350 manufactured by the Swedish-German company Taurus at the International Defense and Security Fair of Madrid on May 17, 2023. (Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images)
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Berlin is not planning to greenlight the transfer of Taurus long-range missiles to Ukraine at the moment, Germany's Ambassador to Ukraine Martin Jaeger said in an interview with European Pravda on Oct. 19.

"At the moment, there will be no deliveries of Taurus missiles to Ukraine," the ambassador said.

"In my opinion, the Federal Government and Chancellor (Olaf Scholz) have made this very clear. We have informed the Ukrainian government about this decision in detail," he said, adding that this is all he can say about it in public.

The Taurus missiles have been the subject of extensive discussion and debate, with much of the German hesitation stemming from the prospect of the missiles being used within Russia's territory.

Taurus missiles have a range of up to 500 kilometers, meaning Ukraine could use them to strike deep into Russian-occupied territories, including Crimea.

Leader of the German opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, Friedrich Merz, criticized the government's reluctance to approve the transfer and demanded explanations from the chancellor.

Other German lawmakers have previously said that "Scholz alone" is blocking the provision of the missiles, as other members of the ruling coalition have already voiced support.

Justifying the hesitation, Scholz's office said earlier that Berlin is waiting for Washington's decision to provide Ukraine with its ATACMS missiles before greenlighting the transfer of Taurus.

The White House confirmed earlier this week that Ukraine had received its first batch of ATACMS. The announcement came shortly after Ukrainian forces used the long-range missiles to strike at Russian airfields in occupied Luhansk and Berdiansk.

Jaeger emphasized in the interview that regardless of the decision on Taurus, Berlin continues to firmly support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.

He pointed out an upcoming German assistance package worth 1 billion euros (1.1 $billion) aimed at strengthening Ukrainian air defenses ahead of the coming winter months.

Scholz discussed the new aid tranche on Oct. 19 in the Bundestag, the German parliament, saying that the package contains "everything that is necessary for air (Ukraine's) defense."

White House, Ukrainian military confirm provision of ATACMS to Ukraine
The U.S. has provided Ukraine with Army Tactical Missiles Systems (ATACMS), the White House confirmed on Oct. 17, after the Ukrainian military said it had used them for the first time on the battlefield.

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