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Sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine is ‘line I’ve no wish to cross’ – Scholz

The German chancellor has reiterated his stance against escalating the conflict with Russia

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told lawmakers in the Bundestag on Wednesday that he refuses to arm Ukraine with long-range Taurus cruise missiles.

Kiev has been increasingly vocal about its lack of weaponry and ammunition on the front lines, and has long been requesting the German-made missiles in particular. Scholz has been reluctant, warning that Kiev could use Taurus projectiles, which have a range of up to 500km, to strike targets deep inside Russia, exacerbating the conflict.

During a plenary session, Scholz reaffirmed his stance, saying the delivery of Taurus missiles was “a line that I don’t want to cross as chancellor.” He added that it would be “irresponsible” to supply the missiles without the participation of German soldiers, who are trained to know “where to aim, shoot and hit.”

Scholz said it was necessary to “ensure that there is no involvement of German soldiers when delivering weapons,” and therefore supplying Taurus missiles is “out of the question.”

The chancellor emphasized that he has a responsibility to prevent Germany from participating directly in the Ukraine conflict.

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“As chancellor, I have a responsibility to prevent Germany from becoming involved in this war… Prudence is not something that can be qualified as weakness, as some consider it, but prudence is what our citizens are entitled to,” he stated, noting that it was important to continue to carefully weigh each individual decision regarding Ukraine.

The potential supply of Taurus missiles to Ukraine attracted the attention of the Kremlin after a leaked recording of top German military officials discussing the use of the weapon to destroy Russia’s Crimean Bridge. The leak prompted former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev to accuse Germany of preparing for a conflict with Russia, which Berlin has denied.

Moscow has repeatedly warned that, by supplying Kiev with weapons, its Western backers are merely prolonging the conflict without affecting its outcome. Russia would prefer to end hostilities and start peace talks, but says it sees no such willingness from either Kiev or its supporters.

 

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