Germany's Baerbock clarifies Scholz's stance on Ukraine missile aid amid Putin speculations

Olaf Scholz
Olaf Scholz

Fear of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is not driving the Olaf Scholz's reluctance to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stated on March 29.

"The chancellor is not afraid of Putin," Baerbock said when asked whether Scholz is against sending Taurus out of fear of Putin.

Baerbock expressed concerns over the ongoing public discourse regarding missile aid to Ukraine, cautioning that it could play into the hands of Russian military propaganda aimed at sowing discord within Western democracies.

Read also: Berlin irritated with Kyiv’s requests to transfer long-range Taurus missiles - Kuleba

Baerbock highlighted the importance of unity, particularly in the context of upcoming elections in Europe and Germany, underscoring the need to avoid internal divisions that could be exploited by external forces.

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The issue of providing Ukraine with Taurus missiles - what is known

Ukraine has requested long-range weaponry from its partners to target objectives deep within Russia-occupied territory. While some countries, such as the UK with Storm Shadow cruise missiles and France with SCALP missiles, have already supplied such arms, Germany, possessing around 600 Taurus cruise missiles, has delayed action.

Berlin has not outright denied Ukraine the Taurus missiles but has not been ready to provide them, possibly due to Scholz’s hesitations, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said in September 2023.

Ukraine has repeatedly stated that it will not use Western long-range missiles to strike Russian territory.

The Bundestag has twice failed to support a draft resolution calling for the supply of long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine on Jan. 17, with only 178 out of 666 MPs voting in favor.

The German parliament voted to supply Ukraine with “long-range weapons” on Feb. 22 but did not mention the Taurus.

Russians leaked a conversation in March among German top generals discussing a potential Ukrainian strike with Taurus missiles on the Crimean Bridge, illegally built by Russia. This became one of the most discussed topics in Germany for some time.

Read also: Opposition leader: Scholz to eventually approve Taurus missile transfer to Ukraine

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