Portada » Scholz’s refusal to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine divides German government | International

Scholz’s refusal to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine divides German government | International

by Isabella Walker
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Germany has been immersed for months in a debate over where to set the limits of aid to Ukraine, fearing that the shipment of weapons would end up triggering an open war with Russia. Despite internal and external pressure, Chancellor Olaf Scholz remains firm for the moment in his refusal to send Taurus missiles to prevent what, in his opinion, could lead Germany to participate in the war. “It surprises me that some people don’t even care, that they don’t even think about whether what we are doing could lead to some kind of war involvement,” the head of the German government said on Tuesday regarding a decision he had already made in October, but which he had never explained publicly until now.

The chancellor’s statements have once again raised criticism within his governing coalition of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Greens and the Liberal Party (FDP). The vice-president of the Green parliamentary group, Agnieszka Brugger, recalled that both she and her party had opposed the exclusion of certain weapons systems from support for Ukraine from the beginning. The Green defense expert assured radio station Deutschlandfunk that it is perfectly possible to supply Kiev with Taurus missiles without involving German soldiers. “Everything must be done to prevent a Russian victory, also in the interests of Germany’s own security,” she said.

Scholz spoke about Taurus upon returning from Paris, where a meeting took place on Monday with leaders and ministers of the European Union, as well as representatives of the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Although all countries present at the meeting agree that Ukraine needs “a lot of support” in terms of weapons, there is a red line that the German Chancellor is not yet willing to cross: sending these powerful long-range missiles. precision weapons capable of reaching targets located 500 kilometers away. Moscow is located in this radius of the Russian-Ukrainian border. The Ukrainian government requested the delivery of these missiles in May last year in order to attack Russian logistics away from the front line.

For the first time, the Social Democratic politician openly explained why he has not yet given his consent. “We must not be tied at any time or anywhere to the objectives pursued by these missiles,” he said at a conference organized by the German news agency DPA. For Scholz, the risk of Germany being dragged into the war is “too great” and he recalled that what Ukraine currently needs above all is ammunition. “Clarifying this is necessary.”

The dispute over the supply of Taurus cruise missiles has been putting the government coalition to the test for months. Not even the fact that Germany became Ukraine’s second largest arms supplier, behind the United States, and supplied Leopard tanks – also controversial at the time – and all kinds of equipment and weapons such as defense, anti-aircraft missiles appear to have changed Scholz’s opinion of one of the Air Force’s most modern missiles.

Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt of the Greens also criticized Scholz. “No one calling for the Bull for Ukraine wants Germany to join the war,” she said. “However, for peace in Europe and beyond, it is essential that Ukraine wins this defense battle,” the politician said, recalling that the greatest danger for Ukraine and Germany remains that Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to have an advantage and continue with “its imperialist campaign”.

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Meanwhile, liberal politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chairwoman of the Bundestag’s Defense Committee, told the Welt television channel that she was “stunned” and rejected the fact that German soldiers had to go to Ukraine to prepare these missiles, as Scholz claims. “This is simply not true, the chancellor is looking for excuses,” she said, indicating that Ukrainian soldiers can learn to handle them in Germany. Strack-Zimmermann also refuted fears that Taurus missiles could be reprogrammed by the Ukrainians to attack targets in Russia that Germany would not approve of, which would mean Germany could be dragged into war, and reminded that there are already many planned weapons of German production. in Ukraine.

Opposition criticism

Criticism also came from the opposition. “The claim that the surrender of the Bull would make Germany a party to the war is simply false from a legal point of view and infamous from a political point of view,” the EU foreign policy expert wrote on the Christian Democratic social network (CDU). Norbert Röttgen. “The Bull is not a miracle weapon, but it is strategically important because it allows the Ukrainians to destroy positions in the occupied territories without getting close to the front line. The Bull would therefore protect soldiers and civilians.”

Conservatives are demanding the delivery of the Taurus missiles, and Scholz’s coalition partners are also largely supportive. However, last week a resolution in the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament) calling for the delivery of these missiles failed. Scholz has repeatedly insisted that the criterion for the supply of weapons is always close coordination with the United States, which also does not supply this missile system, unlike France and the United Kingdom.

For now, Scholz has the support of the Germans. According to the latest poll by RTL and ntv, 56% of Germans consider their decision “right” and believe that Germany should not supply these weapons to Ukraine. In contrast, 35% of respondents are in favor of delivery. For Scholz it is important that this is debated in public opinion. “We have to resist for a long time. In a democracy and in a country committed to freedom, this is only possible if the majority of citizens are convinced that this is the right thing to do.”

Furthermore, Scholz quickly closed the door opened by French President Emmanuel Macron to a possible dispatch of Western troops to Ukraine. “There will be no ground troops, no soldiers sent to Ukrainian soil from European countries or NATO states, and active soldiers in our countries will not take an active part in the war.”

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