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Media: US hopes ATACMS delivery will push Germany to send Ukraine Taurus missiles

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 26, 2024 10:41 AM 3 min read
A Taurus long-range air-to-surface missile fired from a South Korean Air Force F-15K fighter jet during an exercise on September 12, 2017 in Taean-gun, South Korea (Photo by South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)
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Washington is hoping new deliveries of long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine will push Germany to finally send Taurus missiles to help Kyiv fend off Russia's full-scale invasion, the French public television network TV5 Monde reported on April 25, citing an unnamed U.S. official.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is against sending the weapons to Ukraine 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, and it was reported on April 25 that the U.S. had secretly sent more than 100 long-range ATACMS missiles to Kyiv last week.

"On the issue of the Taurus... it's a decision for Germany to make," an anonymous senior U.S. defense official told TV5 Monde on April 25.

"But of course, with the US supply of ATACMS as well as the previous decisions of the U.K. and France to supply long-range missiles, we obviously have the hope that this will play a role," they added.

In February, U.S. President Joe Biden instructed his team to include the long-range ATACMS in a military aid package, doing it in secrecy for security reasons and "to maintain the element of surprise for Ukraine," Reuters reported on April 24, citing an unnamed U.S. official.

The NYT, quoting another unnamed U.S. official, said it was these missiles that struck the airfield in Dzhankoi in Russian-occupied Crimea on April 17. Ukraine's military intelligence on April 18 said that Ukrainian forces had destroyed four S-400 launchers, three radar stations, a command post for air defense operations, and air space surveillance equipment Fundament-M in the attack.

When and how will US aid impact the front lines in Ukraine?
After almost seven months of delays, the U.S. Congress finally approved $61 billion in aid for Kyiv, mostly in the form of military assistance. The legislation was promptly signed by U.S. President Joe Biden, and shortly after, the Pentagon announced the first defense package of $1 billion, contain…

The U.S. first delivered mid-range older models of ATACMS missiles to Ukraine last fall, following months of deliberation. The older models have a range of 165 kilometers (roughly 100 miles).

Newer models of ATACMS have a maximum range of around 300 kilometers (around 190 miles), and their delivery to Ukraine was previously unknown to the public.

Taurus is a joint German-Swedish-made cruise missile with a range of over 500 kilometers, further than the Storm Shadow and SCALP missiles Ukraine currently has as well as the newer models of ATACMS.

They are also designed to hit buried and protected targets.

These advantages would allow Kyiv to hit targets deeper inside occupied Ukraine, including the Crimean Bridge, a critical supply and transport route for Russian forces.

But their increased range would also allow for strikes deep inside Russian territory, a scenario that has made Berlin nervous.

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.

NYT: US secretly sent Ukraine over 100 ATACMS last week
The U.S. secretly shipped over 100 long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine last week, some of which were immediately deployed and used to strike a Russian military airfield in Dzhankoi in occupied Crimea, the New York Times (NYT) reported on April 25.
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