Advertisement

Olaf Scholz won’t send missiles to Ukraine as they could be used to attack Moscow

Olaf Scholz has previously cited concerns about Germany being perceived as a party to the war in Ukraine
Olaf Scholz has previously cited concerns about Germany being perceived as a party to the war in Ukraine - Michaela Stache/Reuters

Olaf Scholz said he doesn’t want to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine as he fears they will be used to strike targets in Moscow and potentially drag Germany into the war.

The German chancellor has repeatedly ruled out sending the powerful Taurus missile system to Ukraine as he fears it could be regarded as a step too far by Vladimir Putin.

On Thursday he told voters he feared Ukraine could use them to hit Moscow, amid reports this week that the missiles – which are more advanced than British Storm Shadows – could target the Kremlin.

Speaking to voters on Thursday night in Dresden, Mr Scholz said: “[The Taurus], which has a range of 500km and if used incorrectly could reach a specific target somewhere in Moscow, is a weapon where the question must be asked, ‘what would be done with it’, and this cannot be decided simply with encouraging statements.

“Therefore it is the case, and I put this in diplomatic abstractions, others have made sure they know exactly where everything ends up,” he added.

Olaf Scholz (centre) at the ground-breaking ceremony of a new Rheinmetall ammunition plant in Unterluess in Germany
Olaf Scholz (centre) at the ground-breaking ceremony of a new Rheinmetall ammunition plant in Unterluess in Germany - FRIEDEMANN VOGEL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Mr Scholz has previously cited concerns about Germany being perceived as a “Kriegspartei,” or party to the war, but his remarks on Thursday suggested he is also concerned about Ukrainian forces potentially trying to attack Putin in the Kremlin, which is based in Moscow.

The German chancellor is under intense pressure to agree to send the Taurus system to Ukraine as Britain and France have already provided similar missile systems, the Storm Shadow and the Scalp.

In the past, Mr Scholz has stated that Taurus missiles would require boots on the ground in Ukraine, a step that he has ruled out because of concerns about subsequent escalation by Putin.

Earlier this week he drew the ire of UK security sources after he appeared to confirm that Britain had already deployed forces to Ukraine to assist in the use of Storm Shadows.

Those comments were seen by German opposition figures and Tobias Ellwood, the former chairman of the Commons defence committee, as putting British military and diplomatic staff in Ukraine at risk.

“This is a flagrant abuse of intelligence deliberately designed to distract from Germany’s reluctance to arm Ukraine with its own long-range missile system. This will no doubt be used by Russia to racket up the escalator ladder,” Mr Ellwood said earlier this week.

Norbert Roettgen, a senior member of the opposition CDU party, said: “The chancellor’s statement regarding France and Britain’s alleged involvement in operating long-range cruise missiles used in Ukraine is completely irresponsible.”