German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius reiterated on Thursday that delivering sophisticated long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine is not Germany’s top priority. Pistorius expressed “obvious” concerns about supplying such weaponry, noting that even the United States is reluctant to provide Ukraine with longer-range missile systems.
“We continue to believe that this is not our top priority right now,” Pistorius said during a visit to a mountain infantry brigade in Bavaria. He pointed out that Berlin shares the same reluctance as Washington when it comes to delivering cruise missiles. The Swedish-German Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missiles have a massive 500kg warhead and a range of over 500km (310 miles).
Despite repeated demands from top Ukrainian officials, Germany has been hesitant to supply Kiev with long-range weapons. Last month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz explained that such munitions could potentially be used by Ukraine to strike deep into Russian territory, resulting in a major escalation of the conflict.
“We carefully check all the requests we receive. But for us, there is a principle that I share with the US president – we do not want the weapons we supply to be used to attack Russian territories,” Scholz stated.
Throughout the ongoing conflict that began in February 2022, Germany has been among the few Western nations cautious about meeting Ukraine’s escalating demands for increasingly sophisticated weaponry. However, earlier this year, Berlin yielded to mounting pressure and allowed re-exports of German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Germany also delivered a number of tanks from its own stocks.
Moscow has repeatedly urged Western countries to stop arming Ukraine, arguing that doing so will only prolong the conflict and cause more damage to the country. The collective West’s continuous supply of military hardware, including tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, has resulted in significant losses for Ukraine. Recent weeks have seen the destruction of Western-supplied equipment following Kiev’s much-anticipated counteroffensive, which failed to produce any significant results.
Germany’s cautious approach to supplying Ukraine with long-range missiles reflects the nation’s concerns about the potential escalation of the conflict and the negative impact it could have on the region. As the situation continues to unfold, Germany will continue to prioritize diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis.