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Germany accused of ‘flagrant abuse of intelligence’ for revealing British help in Ukraine

German chancellor Olaf Scholz has been accused of a “flagrant abuse of intelligence” for divulging details of British aid for Ukrainian forces.

Mr Scholz said Germany will not be sending Kyiv Taurus, Berlin’s version of the Storm Shadow missile, pointing to a risk of his country becoming directly involved in the war, referring to the UK and French assistance to Ukraine.

On Monday, he said that German soldiers could not follow the lead of their British and French allies in “the way of target control and accompanying target control”.

“This is a flagrant abuse of intelligence deliberately designed to distract from Germany’s reluctance to arm Ukraine with its own long-range missile system,” said Tobias Ellwood, the former chairman of the Commons defence committee.

He added that Mr Scholz’s argument will “no doubt be used by Russia to racket up the escalator ladder”.

At home in Berlin, Mr Scholz is facing flak for not delivering aid sought by Ukraine, especially long-range weapons, needed to stop Russia’s advance on the battlefield.

The need for long-range weapons like Storm Shadow cruise missiles and Taurus has been reiterated by Volodymyr Zelensky, who admits his troops are running low on ammunition.

Last week German lawmakers called on the government to deliver further long-range weapons to Ukraine, but voted down an opposition call explicitly urging it to send Taurus long-range cruise missiles.

A motion drawn up by governing parties urged the government to keep up military support and said “this includes the delivery of further necessary long-range weapons systems and ammunition” to enable attacks on “strategically important targets far in the rear of the Russian aggressor.”

That unspecified formulation allowed government lawmakers to advocate sending Taurus missiles, or not.

Mr Scholz’s latest comments have been slammed as “irresponsible” by German opposition MPs.

Norbert Rottgen, a senior lawmaker from the CDU, the former ruling party of Angela Merkel, said: “The chancellor’s statement regarding France and Britain’s alleged involvement in operating long-range cruise missiles used in Ukraine is completely irresponsible.”

The German chancellor has openly clashed with French president Emmanuel Macron and refused to entertain the idea of any deployment of Nato or Western soldiers in the Ukraine war.

Rishi Sunak on Tuesday confirmed the UK government has a “small number” of soldiers deployed inside Ukraine but added that Britain has no plans for a large-scale deployment of troops to the war-hit nation.

"Beyond the small number of personnel we do have in the country supporting the armed forces of Ukraine, we haven’t got any plans for large-scale deployment," the PM’s spokesperson told reporters, adding that large numbers of Ukrainian troops were being trained in Britain and London was supporting Kyiv with equipment and supplies.