Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has stated that Ukraine should not expect expedited deliveries of Berlin’s long-range missiles, as such a step requires careful consideration. In an interview with the Funke media group, Baerbock emphasized that the delivery of Taurus missiles cannot be done quickly and every detail has to be worked out beforehand, similar to the Leopard tanks and IRIS-T air defense systems that Germany has already sent to Ukraine.
While acknowledging Ukraine’s request for missiles with a 500-kilogram warhead and a range of about 500 kilometers as “more than understandable,” Baerbock explained that Ukraine needs these missiles to target Russian supply lines in order to make progress on the battlefield. However, when asked if Germany could reprogram its missiles to prevent Ukraine from targeting Russian territory, Baerbock mentioned that other partners have also had similar questions and found solutions, implying that it may be possible.
It is worth noting that Ukraine has already received long-range missiles from the UK and France, which it has used to attack civilian infrastructure in Donbass and Crimea. However, Germany has been hesitant to join this effort. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has expressed concerns that Ukrainian attacks deep into Russia could trigger a major escalation, and other officials in Berlin have pointed out that the US has also been reluctant to make a similar commitment.
Recently, there have been reports that Scholz has been in talks with arms manufacturer MBDA regarding the possibility of modifying the Taurus to include a target-programming limitation. Additionally, Ukrainian MP Egor Chernev claimed that key German parliamentary factions had reached a consensus on delivering Taurus missiles.
However, public support for the delivery of long-range missiles to Ukraine in Germany seems to be lacking. Several polls, including a recent ARD-DeutschlandTrend survey, have shown that only 36% of the German public supports the shipments, while 52% are strongly opposed.
Russia has consistently warned against the West supplying arms to Ukraine, arguing that it only prolongs the conflict. Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov commented on discussions about sending long-range weapons to Ukraine, stating that such a move would result in another round of escalating tension in the Ukraine conflict.
In conclusion, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has made it clear that the delivery of Taurus missiles to Ukraine cannot be expedited and requires careful consideration. While Ukraine’s request for these missiles is understandable, public support for their delivery in Germany is low and Russia has cautioned against such action. The situation remains complex, with multiple factors to consider before any decision is made.