Zelensky: Germany keeps 'Taurus' missiles to defend Berlin

The president of Ukraine seems to be very upset about Chancellor Scholz's refusal to send the very powerful Taurus missiles to Ukraine, he added that Scholz is afraid of a Russian attack on Berlin

by Sededin Dedovic
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Zelensky: Germany keeps 'Taurus' missiles to defend Berlin
© Michele Tantussi / Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sharply criticized German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for refusing to provide Kiev with German-made Taurus cruise missiles. He suggested that the delay was motivated by Germany's desire to retain weapons to defend Berlin against a potential threat from Russia, reports Politico.

"As far as I understand, the chancellor believes that since he is the representative of a non-nuclear state, this is the only weapon that Germany has, that it is the most powerful. He shared messages with me that he could not leave his country without such a powerful weapon," Zelensky said about the Taurus missiles in an interview with Axel Springer Politico.

He added that Scholz had shared messages with him, stressing that he could not leave his country without such a powerful weapon. However, the German government presents a completely different logic for not sending weapons.

Scholz steadfastly refused to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine, arguing that such a step could lead to an escalation of the war and even draw Germany into direct conflict with Russia. "In no case and in no place should we be associated with the goals that this system can achieve.

It is necessary to be this clear. I am surprised that some people do not change their attitude on this issue at all and do not think about whether what we are doing could in a certain sense lead to participation in the war", said Solz during a guest appearance at the editorial conference of the German agency dpa.

"Taurus" is one of the most modern missiles of the German Air Force. This precision weapon can hit targets at distances of up to 500 kilometers. Moscow is located within that radius from the Russian-Ukrainian border. Back in May of last year, the Ukrainian government requested the delivery of German cruise missiles in order to use them to target Russian logistics far behind the front line.

A Taurus cruise missile displayed during a visit by Bavarian Premier Markus Soeder to a production facility of MBDA Deutschland,© Leonhard Simon / Getty Images

The Ukrainians want the German Taurus missiles precisely because they can hit targets deep behind the front lines, such as the Kerch bridge connecting Russia and occupied Crimea.

Zelensky claims that Scholz sees the Taurus missiles as a deterrent against a nuclear attack, but adds that he does not see the logic in this. "No missile will protect any person from nuclear strikes, if a nuclear war breaks out, God forbid," he said.

Scholz presents himself in public as a leader who can provide help to Ukraine without the risk of a wider war. Although members of his government and the conservative opposition urged him to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine, he refused, arguing that such a move could provoke Russia.

Zelensky criticized not only Germany's reluctance to send the missiles - but also the pace of the US in allowing Ukrainian forces to use US-supplied F-16 fighter jets and ATACMS missiles. "I always use logic in my steps, in my words and in my conclusions," he said.

"And I just don't understand the logic behind it when, for example, one of our partners has weapons that Ukraine needs today to survive." And I don't understand why they don't give it to us".

The German chancellor does not have much support

"German soldiers are not needed by Taurus on Ukrainian soil.

The chancellor's claim is not true," said Marie-Agnes Strak-Zimmerman, FDP defense expert. The chancellor's decisions are also opposed in his own coalition. Norbert Rotgen, a CDU/CSU foreign policy expert, says that the claim that the delivery of the Taurus would make Germany a party to the war is simply wrong legally, and politically infamous.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz takes questions from parliamentarians in the Bundestag on March 13, 2024 in Berlin, Germany. Schol© Michele Tantussi / Getty Images

"We must prevent the war that Russia started against Ukraine from escalating into a war between Russia and NATO.

It is very clear that there will be no German soldiers on Ukrainian territory," Scholz said. The German parliament is discussing the possible delivery of Taurus missiles to Ukraine. Taurus KEPD-350 rockets are considered one of the most modern weapons of the German Bundeswehr army.

These five-meter-long and 1,400-kilogram rockets are launched by fighter jets, have a jet engine and independently find their assigned target on the ground. They move at a speed of up to 1,170 kilometers per hour, fly at a height of about 35 meters, and therefore it is difficult for enemy radar to detect them.

A third of citizens are skeptical about whether Germany is doing too much in relation to Ukraine. According to Scholz, it would be helpful if that was also "subject to debate at some point." This, he says, would also be necessary in order to be able to maintain support if the war continues for a long time.

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