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Germany probes Russia’s leak of military call discussing Taurus missiles for Ukraine

German authorities probe potential Russian eavesdropping and disclosure of video conference call where German officers discussed Taurus missile and other potential weapon supplies for Ukraine.
A Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missile at the ILA air show near Berlin in 2004. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Germany probes Russia’s leak of military call discussing Taurus missiles for Ukraine

German authorities have launched an investigation after Russian state media leaked audio from a conference call between high-ranking German military officers, The Washington Post reports. The call, held over the video platform WebEx, involved a discussion of potential missile and other weapons transfers to support Ukraine in its war with Russia.

Specifically, Germany’s air force chief and three other senior officers talked about the possibility of providing advanced Taurus cruise missiles to Kyiv. They also referenced a hypothetical Ukrainian strike against a strategic bridge, connecting the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula with Russia.

Possible Taurus supplies is a move German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been hesitant to pursue, despite urging from allies, citing concerns that it could escalate Berlin’s direct engagement in the war.

The leak has prompted outrage from German politicians and accusations that Russia is waging an “information war” to deter weapons aid to Ukraine:

“It’s a hybrid disinformation attack — it’s about division, it’s about undermining our unity,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on 3 March.

Russia, in turn, has demanded Germany explain the officers’ discussion of military operations on what it considers its sovereign territory.

Germany has walked a fine line during the war, providing substantial defense aid to Ukraine, including tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery, while seeking to avoid direct confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. Chancellor Olaf Scholz described the call leak as “very serious,” pledging a swift and thorough investigation.

Last week, Scholz clarified regarding the Taurus supplies that Germany would not have control over the targeting of the Taurus missiles, which have a range of about 300 miles, stating that they were “a very far-reaching weapon.”

Scholz’s remarks sparked criticism from British lawmakers, particularly in response to his suggestion that British and French personnel were involved in operating cruise missiles delivered to Ukraine, which Alicia Kearns, chair of the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, deemed “wrong, irresponsible, and a slap in the face to allies.”

In its 29 February resolution, the European Parliament calls on the EU to give Ukraine whatever it needs to defeat Russia, including the German Taurus missile, urging no restrictions on EU military aid to Ukraine, calls an allies to support Ukraine with at least 0.25% of their GDP annually, and demands the US House to adopt its stalled military aid promptly.

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