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Baerbok seeks Scholz's approval for Taurus transfer to Ukraine, Spiegel

Baerbok seeks Scholz's approval for Taurus transfer to Ukraine, Spiegel Germany is exploring the possibility of agreeing to transfer Taurus missiles to Ukraine (Photo:
Author: Daria Shekina

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is discreetly attempting to persuade Chancellor Olaf Scholz to agree to transfer long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine. She particularly supports the initiative of the United Kingdom regarding a potential exchange of missile armaments, reports Spiegel.

According to the material, recently Baerbock discussed the issue of Taurus missiles and their "military-political explosive power" with her British colleague David Cameron during his visit to Berlin.

The news agency notes that unlike debates a year and a half ago about supplying combat tanks to Ukraine, Baerbock refrained from public statements on the Taurus issue for months, as the German Chancellor could perceive it as "unlawful pressure". Instead, she relies on her allies.

This concerns the previously voiced idea by Cameron of exchanging missiles between Britain and Germany. The essence is that London could receive German Taurus missiles, while Kyiv would receive British Storm Shadow missiles.

According to FAZ, Baerbock is "secretly working" on how Germany could send Taurus missiles to Ukraine without crossing Scholz's "red lines." One option could be a scenario where Germans give Taurus missiles to the British, and they transfer these missiles to the Ukrainians, but retain control over the mission and targets of such armaments.

It is noted that the Foreign Minister has not yet succeeded in this matter with Scholz. As the Chancellor pointed out, explaining his reluctance to transfer Taurus to Ukraine, the issue of control over this long-range weapon is essential and cannot be achieved without German military involvement.

However, Bundeswehr experts recently explained to politicians in the Bundestag that a cruise missile with its full capabilities can only be used with the involvement of the Bundeswehr, as it requires careful planning. Only then can Taurus demonstrate its qualities: fly under the enemy's radar, automatically bypass air defense positions, and hit the target with a possible error of less than 3 meters. Currently, only the German Air Force in Büchel can plan in such a way, not the manufacturer.

If the country wants to use Taurus, German military personnel must at least assist in mission planning, the publication states. But Scholz rejects this possibility.

In addition, Taurus can be used with reduced capabilities. Instead of large mission data packages, the system will only receive target GPS data.

Calls for the transfer of missiles in the Bundestag

Meanwhile, various German politicians, including the Greens, continue to lobby for the issue of providing Ukraine with Taurus missiles against the backdrop of Russian military aggression, warning of possible consequences for Europe's security in the event of Ukraine's defeat. Scholz's position is also critically perceived by other opposition political forces.

The leader of the liberal Free Democratic Party, Christian Lindner, recently told party committees that Ukrainian personnel should undergo training on Taurus, and geodata should only be available for agreed target areas. Then the Chancellor's conditions would be met, as Lindner said.

It should be added that the deputy head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) faction in the Bundestag, Johann Wadephul, wanted to find out from Scholz why the Chancellor distrusts the Ukrainian army regarding the use of Taurus, like other weapons systems.

"Why do you have such distrust for this brave nation and this army, which has so far adhered to all agreements?" Wadephul noted.

Scholz's position on transferring missiles to Ukraine

Ukraine requested long-range Taurus missiles from Germany last year, capable of destroying targets up to 500 kilometers away.

However, Berlin refuses to transfer them. Chancellor Scholz himself is against it - he explained that for such deliveries, supposedly, the presence of German soldiers would be required on the ground.

Scholz also stated that if Taurus missiles were provided to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, in case of improper use, they "can reach a specific target somewhere in Moscow."