Berlin is reluctant to deliver these missiles because they can also reach Russian territory
Germany Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on Thursday reiterated his opposition to delivering Taurus-type cruise missiles to Ukraine.
“We are still of the opinion that this is not our top priority right now,” Germany’s dpa news agency quoted Pistorius as saying during his visit to the 23rd Mountain Infantry Brigade in the southern German town of Bad Reichenhall.
Concerns about the delivery are “obvious,” he said, adding: “We’re not the only ones not delivering. Our American allies do not supply these cruise missiles either. Ours have a special reach.”
Ukraine has been demanding Taurus cruise missiles from Berlin in order to be able to attack the positions of the Russian armed forces far behind the front line.
But the German government is reluctant to do so because these missiles can also reach Russian territory.
However, Pistorius did not categorically rule out that Germany would deliver the required weapons in the future: “The time for a decision has not yet come for us.”
When it comes to Ukraine, Germany is a leader in air defense, training support, and engineering and armored vehicles, the defense minister said.
“This is our top priority, our core competency. Therefore, we currently see no urgent need for a decision on the other question,” he added.
There are, however, different views on the delivery of cruise missiles within the German coalition government.
Marcus Faber, a defense expert and lawmaker from the co-ruling Free Democratic Party (FDP), recently called for the delivery of the missiles.
According to Faber, with Ukraine’s counter-offensive faltering, it is the right time to deliver the cruise missiles.
He said that the missiles could help interrupt the Russian army’s logistics chains and thus disrupt its ammunition supply.
Last month, Germany announced plans to supply Ukraine with more weapons and ammunition worth nearly €700 million ($770 million).
Specifically, the package includes two Patriot launchers from the German military’s inventory as well as 70 armored combat vehicles, including 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles.
Artillery shells and reconnaissance and drone defense assets will also be supplied. In total, 31 items are involved, some of which are to be taken from the German military’s inventory.
Last year, the German government approved arms exports worth a total of €2.2 billion ($2.4 billion) to Ukraine. In the first half of this year, exports were worth €1.65 billion ($1.81 billion).
Since May 2022, more than 3,500 Ukrainian soldiers have been trained on various weapons systems in Germany, according to the government.