Deliveries of Taurus rockets “is not something that can be done quickly,” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said
Ukraine should not hope for expedited deliveries of long-range missiles from Berlin, which it has been requesting for months, as such a step should be extremely well thought-out, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in an interview on Friday.
Speaking to the Funke media group, Baerbock pointed out that the supply of Taurus missiles “is not something that can be done quickly.” As with the Leopard tanks and IRIS-T air defense systems that Germany has already sent to Ukraine, “every detail has to be worked out beforehand.”
The minister nonetheless described Kiev’s request for missiles that carry a 500-kilogram warhead and have a range of about 500 kilometers as “more than understandable,” explaining that Ukraine needs to hit Russian supply lines in the rear to make progress on the battlefield.
When asked whether Germany could reprogram its missiles to prevent Ukraine from targeting Russian territory, Baerbock said that “other partners also have similar questions and found solutions.”
While Ukraine has already received long-range missiles from the UK and France, which it has used to attack civilian infrastructure in Donbass and Crimea – Germany has so far been reluctant to join the effort. Explaining this stance, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said that Ukrainian attacks deep into Russia could trigger a major escalation, while other officials in Berlin pointed out that the US has also been unwilling to make a similar commitment.
Last month, however, Der Spiegel reported that Scholz was in talks with arms manufacturer MBDA regarding possibly modifying the Taurus to include a target-programming limitation. Around the same time, Ukrainian MP Egor Chernev claimed that key German parliamentary factions had “reached a consensus” on delivering Taurus missiles.
The German public, however, does not seem inclined to support the delivery, according to several polls. A recent ARD-DeutschlandTrend survey put support for the shipments of long-range missiles to Ukraine at just 36%, with 52% strongly opposed.
Russia has repeatedly warned the West against supplying arms to Kiev, arguing that it only prolongs this conflict. Commenting on discussions about sending long-range weapons to Ukraine, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said such a move would result in “another round of spiraling tension” in the Ukraine conflict.
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