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US Delivery of Long-Range Missiles to Ukraine Sparks Debate in Germany Over Taurus Cruise Missile Supply

Berlin, April 26, 2024, The Europe Today: The recent revelation by the United States of America regarding the provision of long-range missiles to Ukraine has ignited a contentious discourse within Germany concerning the potential delivery of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukrainian forces.

The US weaponry in question, identified as the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), boasts an operational range of up to 300 kilometers (180 miles), as disclosed on Wednesday.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, accompanied by the majority of German legislators, has steadfastly opposed the dispatch of the long-range Taurus weapons system to Ukraine, citing apprehensions of escalating tensions with Russia.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, held alongside UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Chancellor Scholz reiterated his stance against providing Taurus missiles to Ukraine, affirming, “My decision will not change,” mere hours before the disclosure of the US assistance package containing ATACMS deliveries in March.

An unnamed senior official from the US defense sector informed reporters on Thursday that the decision to deliver Taurus missiles rested with Germany, emphasizing that the recent US decision to supply ATACMS, along with analogous moves in London and Paris to furnish long-range cruise missiles, could potentially influence Germany’s position.

The refusal by Chancellor Scholz to authorize the provision of Taurus missiles has elicited sharp rebukes from the conservative opposition bloc CDU/CSU. Additionally, members of Chancellor Scholz’s ruling coalition, particularly the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), advocate for supplying the weapons.

Johann Wadephul, the CDU deputy chairman in the German parliament responsible for foreign affairs and defense, underscored his party’s protracted campaign for the delivery of Taurus missiles to Ukraine, expressing disappointment in Scholz’s stance.

Wadephul asserted, “It’s now really the time to send Taurus because they are comparable to the ATACMS systems sent from the US, and they are very much needed in Ukraine,” emphasizing the critical role these missiles could play.

The Taurus KEPD-350 missile, lauded as one of the Bundeswehr’s most advanced weapon systems, possesses a formidable operational capacity. Fired from aircraft, it traverses at nearly the speed of sound and can engage targets up to 500 kilometers (310 miles) away.

While acknowledging that the Taurus missiles are not a panacea, Wadephul emphasized their significance in enabling Ukrainian forces to penetrate deeper into hostile territories, asserting, “It’s not a silver bullet but Ukraine needs to really go deeper, strike deeper into the Russian head ground.”

The deliberations within Germany over the provision of Taurus missiles to Ukraine underscore the intricate geopolitical dynamics and the imperative of balancing international security interests with regional stability.