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German opposition to bring Taurus missiles to Ukraine up for vote in Bundestag

by Abbey Fenbert January 17, 2024 12:52 AM 1 min read
Friedrich Merz, Chairman of the German CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, gives a press statement in Berlin on Jan. 16, 2024. (Marco Rauch/dpa via Getty Images)
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Germany's primary opposition parties, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) coalition, will call for a Bundestag vote on the transfer of Taurus missiles to Ukraine on Jan. 17, the German news outlet NTV reported.

Ukraine has lobbied for the German-made weapons, which have a range of up to 500 kilometers, since May 2023. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has refused to transfer the missiles, fearing escalation with Russia.

Friedrich Merz, the CDU's parliamentary leader, announced that his party would introduce a motion on Jan. 17 for a resolution in the Bundestag putting the matter of Taurus deliveries to a vote.

"We consider the situation in Ukraine to be increasingly critical," Merz said.

The vote would follow a report from Eva Hogl, Defense Commissioner for the ruling German Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Merz said that Ukrainian forces currently have "no prospect" of holding off Russian troops, and that Taurus cruise missiles could make a substantial difference. He also urged MPs who support delivering long-range weapons to Ukraine to "put their money where their mouth is" during the vote.

Former German President Joachim Gauck said on Jan. 7 that Scholz should approve the transfer of Taurus missiles to Kyiv. His comments followed a series of massive Russian aerial attacks against civilian targets in Ukraine.

"I can no longer understand why we are hesitant to deliver this weapon," Gauck said.

Ukraine has already received long-range missile systems from other key international allies. The U.K. delivered Storm Shadows, with a range of up to 250 kilometers, in May 2023, while France sent their equivalent SCALP-EG missiles later in the summer.

The U.S. also provided Ukraine with Army Tactical Missiles Systems (ATACMS) for the first time in October.

Long-range weapons allow Ukrainian forces to strike targets deep behind Russian defensive lines and in occupied Crimea. The Zelensky administration has lobbied hard for German-made Tauruses, which have an even longer reach than  SCALP-EG/Storm Shadows or ATACMS.

"The longer the missile range, the shorter the war," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in August 2023.

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