Former German President Joachim Gauck has criticized the current German government’s cautious stance on supplying long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine, DW reported on 7 January.
The Taurus is one of the Bundeswehr’s most advanced precision-guided missiles, with a range of 500 kilometers. It can destroy bunkers and would aid Ukraine’s military in intensifying disruption of Russia’s rear logistics in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied territory.
In an interview with Bild, Gauck said that after speaking with military experts, “he can no longer understand why we [Germany] hesitate to supply this weaponry and other ammunition.”
Given the grueling positional warfare and Russia’s massive strikes on Ukrainian cities, Gauck said, “I look with concern at what we are doing and ask whether our support is sufficient.”
Gauck said there is no international legal prohibition on providing military assistance to the victim of aggression. Not providing Ukraine with crucial weaponry would lead to Russia’s victory, threatening the security of other European states in the medium term, the former German President said.
Discussions about Germany’s need to provide these missiles to Ukraine have been ongoing for many months.
In September 2023, German officials told the WSJ that Germany’s three-party coalition government had approved the Taurus delivery in principle, but German Chancellor Olaf Scholz allegedly froze the decision.
Later, German leaders were hesitant to decide on Taurus supplies. In November 2023, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius expressed skepticism about the Taurus’ potential to substantially change the frontline situation, saying these missiles “won’t be a game-changer.”
According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Scholz’s government hesitates to provide the missiles to Ukraine “because of the possibility of them striking targets deep in Russian territory and because Ukraine would probably have to provide geodata or maintenance personnel.”
On 2 January, after Russia’s massive missile attack on Ukraine on 29 December 2023 and 2 January 2024, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, Chair of the Bundestag Defense Committee, urged Germany to supply Ukraine with Taurus air-launched cruise missiles amid increased Russian air attacks.