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German chancellor appeared to suggest that British and French soldiers have helped Ukraine fire 'deep-strike' missiles at Russian targets, report says

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addresses a joint press conference with Ireland's Prime Minister following talks at the Chancellery in Berlin on February 22, 2022. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz seen in Berlin on February 22, 2022.JOHN MACDOUGALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
  • German Chancellor appeared to suggest that the UK and France had been helping Ukraine fire missiles.

  • Long-range Storm Shadow missiles have become a key weapon in Ukraine's arsenal.

  • Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been slammed for a "flagrant abuse of intelligence."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been criticized for a "flagrant abuse of intelligence" after he appeared to suggest British and French soldiers had been helping Ukraine fire missiles they had supplied.

Scholz made the comments while explaining his reluctance to send Germany's long-range Taurus cruise missile to Ukraine, which he said risked the country becoming directly involved in the war.

The chancellor said that sending the missiles, which weigh 3,000 pounds and have a range of up to around 310 miles, would require German soldiers to assist Ukrainian forces on the ground.

He noted that Germany could not do what Britain and France were doing with the Storm Shadow, also known as SCALP, missiles.

"What is being done in the way of target control and accompanying target control on the part of the British and the French can't be done in Germany. Everyone who has dealt with this system knows that," he said, The Associated Press reported.

"German soldiers must at no point and in no place be linked to targets this system reaches," he added.

Defense sources told The Telegraph that his comments had increased concerns over the safety of military and diplomatic personnel from the two countries.

Former UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace accused Scholz of "not only dangerous use of facts but also often wrong facts."

"Scholz's behavior has showed that as far as the security of Europe goes, he is the wrong man, in the wrong job at the wrong time," he told The Standard.

Tobias Ellwood, the former chairman of the UK House of Commons Defence committee, said it was "a flagrant abuse of intelligence deliberately designed to distract from Germany's reluctance to arm Ukraine with its own long-range missile system," per The Telegraph.

"This will no doubt be used by Russia to racket up the escalator ladder," he added.

A German government spokesperson told Business Insider they had no comment on the reports.

In a statement to BI, a spokesperson for the British Ministry of Defence said: "Ukraine's use of Storm Shadow and its targeting processes are the business of the Armed Forces of Ukraine."

It also clarified that Scholz "did not confirm the presence of British troops in Ukraine," although it noted that the department had "previously been clear that a small number of personnel are in country to provide security for our diplomatic presence and to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine."

A key weapon in Ukraine's arsenal

A Storm Shadow/SCALP missile on the wing of a Rafale fighter.
A Storm Shadow/SCALP missile on the wing of a Rafale fighter.Thierry Wurtz/MBDA

In May 2023, the UK became the first country to begin sending Ukraine long-range missiles with the delivery of long-range Storm Shadow missiles.

In January, France announced that it was sending Ukraine roughly 40 more, which have become a key weapon in Ukraine's arsenal.

The missiles are "deep strike" weapons designed for "pre-planned attacks against high value fixed or stationary targets."

According to the Atlantic Council think tank, they enable Ukraine to target ammunition depots and command posts deep inside Russian territory.

They have also been used to strike Russia's Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol, Ukrainian sources told the BBC.

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