German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has prevented the transfer of Taurus long-range missiles to Ukraine because he fears it will lead to a confrontation with Russia, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Sept. 27, citing its sources.
Other members of Germany’s ruling coalition have approved sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine. On Sept. 4, German MP Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann wrote on Twitter that "he (Scholz) alone blocks this decision within the coalition".
According to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal, Scholz was concerned that German personnel would have to work with the missiles on the ground in Ukraine, a move that he claimed would require a vote from parliament. Moreover, Scholz feared that the presence of German boots on the ground in Ukraine could cause “a direct confrontation with Russia”.
It is unclear why Scholtz claims German personnel would need to be physically located in Ukraine in order for the Taurus missiles to be used.
The Taurus missiles have been the subject of much discussion and debate, with much of the German hesitation stemming from the prospect of the missiles being used within Russia’s territory.
Ukraine has received other long-range missiles from its allies, such as the Storm Shadow from the U.K. and the French-made SCALP, but the Taurus has significantly longer range.
Behind the scenes, officials from the U.K. reassured their counterparts in Germany that Ukraine had not used Storm Shadow missiles on targets without prior approval.
Negotiations about the delivery of the U.S.-made ATACMs, which has a similarly longer range to the Taurus, have been underway for a year. Although it was not included in the description of the latest round of U.S. military aid on Sept. 21, subsequent reporting detailed that some may be transferred soon.