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Scholz rejects Taurus missile deployment due to escalation fears

The Chancellor said that peace is possible at any time if Russian President Vladimir Putin ends his “barbaric campaign”.
German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Photo: Bundeskanzler.de/Kugler)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Photo: Bundeskanzler.de/Kugler)
Scholz rejects Taurus missile deployment due to escalation fears

In an exclusive interview with the Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung (MAZ) newspaper ahead of a town hall meeting in Brandenburg an der Havel on March 25th, 2024, Scholz stressed that peace in Ukraine is only possible if Russian President Vladimir Putin ends his “barbaric campaign” and withdraws troops.

The potential delivery of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine has been a point of contention, with Scholz facing pressure from some allies to provide the long-range weapons. However, in the MAZ interview, the Chancellor firmly defended his decision not to send the missiles:

“In addition to strongly supporting Ukraine, one thing remains important to me: We will do everything to prevent an escalation of the war – meaning a war between Russia and NATO,” Scholz said. “For every weapons delivery, we will carefully consider what it means in this context. That is why I have decided as I have decided.”

“We will also not send our own soldiers to Ukraine,” Scholz said.

The Chancellor noted that while Germany has been a leading provider of military aid to Ukraine, providing over 28 billion euros worth of weapons and ammunition – more than many other nations combined – the Taurus decision was made carefully to avoid potentially escalating the war.

“We are spending more than 28 billion euros on this alone. More than many other countries combined.”

Scholz’s stance drew criticism from some hawks but also gained him supporters, particularly in eastern Germany, where reservations about arming Ukraine run higher according to opinion polls.

When asked about the prospects of ending or freezing the war through negotiations, Scholz acknowledged the difficulties posed by Russia’s actions in undermining previous talks.

“Our last telephone conversation was in December 2022 – before that we had spoken more frequently,” Scholz said, referring to his communication with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He recalled how direct negotiations between Russia and Ukraine shortly after the invasion broke down as Russia used them as a “pretext to reposition troops for a major offensive in eastern Ukraine. The subsequent massacres of civilians in Bucha and Irpin by Russian forces ‘deprived the talks of any basis,’ Scholz said.”

The Chancellor emphasized that peace is possible at any time if Russian President Vladimir Putin ends his “barbaric campaign” and withdraws troops from Ukraine. However, he ruled out the deployment of German soldiers to Ukraine or any escalation that could lead to a direct conflict between Russia and NATO.

Responding to a question on whether the People’s Republic of China could act as a mediator, Scholz acknowledged China’s potential role but stressed that the path to a peace process ultimately lies in Putin’s decision to end the war and withdraw Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.

The Taurus missile, officially known as the Taurus KEPD 350, is a German-made long-range cruise missile developed by Taurus Systems GmbH, a joint venture between MBDA Deutschland GmbH and Saab Dynamics. The missile is designed for precision strikes against high-value targets such as bunkers, command centers, and air defense systems. It is capable of penetrating deep into enemy territory, thanks to its stealthy design and advanced guidance system.

Related:

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  2. German Defense Minister announces €500 million military aid package for Ukraine
  3. Germany sends artillery shells, mine-clearing vehicles to Ukraine
  4. Germany pledges $107 mn in short-term military aid to Ukraine
  5. Germany provides new military aid package to Ukraine
  6. Germany to send new aid for Ukraine ahead of winter
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