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Defense firm denies German politician's claim on missile supplies to Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 20, 2024 9:53 PM 1 min read
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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)

German defense contractor Taurus Systems said on Jan. 20 that it could build up its Taurus cruise missile production very quickly, even if Germany sent some to Ukraine.

The company effectively denied a statement made earlier by Johannes Arlt, an expert at Germany's Social Democratic Party.

He claimed that Germany's defense industry would struggle to replenish its needed stockpiles if it sent the missiles to Ukraine.

The head of the company that makes Taurus missiles, Joachim Knopf, posted on Twitter that it would not be a problem to quickly scale up production of new ones.

German lawmakers rejected a proposal from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) parties on transferring long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine, the Bundestag said on Jan. 17.

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 motion was rejected in a roll-call vote with 485 lawmakers against, 178 in support, and three abstentions.

CDU parliamentary leader Friedrich Merz said that Ukrainian forces currently have "no prospect" of holding off Russian troops and that Taurus cruise missiles could make a substantial difference.

Amid Scholz's hesitation in the transfer of long-range missiles, apparently due to fears of "escalation" with Russia, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Taurus missiles would be "used solely inside our borders."

On Jan. 17, Berlin announced a new package of military aid for Ukraine, including ammunition for Leopard 1 tanks.

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