U.S. aims to influence Germany's Taurus missile decision with ATACMS aid to Ukraine – DW

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz holds a drone during a visit to the German Federal Criminal Police Office in Wiesbaden, Germany, April 25, 2024.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz holds a drone during a visit to the German Federal Criminal Police Office in Wiesbaden, Germany, April 25, 2024.

The United States hopes that the provision of long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine will influence German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the issue of German Taurus, Deutsche Welle reported on April 25, citing a senior U.S. defense official.

Scholz has consistently withheld these advanced munitions from the Ukrainian Armed Forces. According to the U.S. official, America, alongside similar actions by the United Kingdom and France, believes this support might influence Germany's position, though the final decision rests with Germany.

This U.S. move has reignited the debate within Germany about sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine. Johann Wadephul, deputy chairman of the CDU party responsible for foreign affairs and defense, told Deutsche Welle that it is time for Germany to dispatch the Taurus missiles, noting their similarity to the ATACMS systems and their critical need in Ukraine.

Read also: Germany’s long-range Taurus missiles are a potent weapon that could make Ukrainian lives easier

Wadephul also voiced criticism of Scholz's reluctance, stating, "To stop a person like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, you need strength, clarity, and the will to win."

Despite this pressure, Scholz reiterated on April 24 that his position remains unchanged, maintaining his refusal to include Taurus missiles in military aid to Ukraine. Concerns that Kyiv might use these weapons to strike Russian territory and potentially escalate the conflict have been central to his hesitance.

While the U.K. and France have already transferred Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine, Germany, which possesses about 600 Taurus missiles, has delayed. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius expressed in September 2023 that Berlin is not outright refusing but is not prepared to make such a move currently.

The issue of supplying Taurus missiles to Ukraine

The German parliament has also shown reluctance, failing twice to pass a motion to transfer Taurus missiles to Ukraine. On February 22, the parliament voted in favor of supplying "long-range weapons" to Ukraine, but did not specifically include Taurus missiles in the resolution.

Read also: Scholz adamant on non-transfer of long-range Taurus missiles to Kyiv

Christian Freudig, head of the special task force on Ukraine at the German Defense Ministry, stated on February 5 that supplying long-range Taurus missiles would not decisively tip the conflict in favor of the Ukrainian forces.s.

Addressing Scholz's perceived fears, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock clarified on March 29 that the Chancellor is not afraid of Putin, emphasizing the complexity of the decision regarding the Taurus missiles.

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