Friday, September 29, 2023

Berlin announces new aid to Ukraine… but no Taurus missiles

Germany will provide Ukraine with a new essentially military aid package worth 400 million euros, but has not yet decided on the delivery of the long-range Taurus missiles requested by Kiev, the Defense Minister announced on Monday.

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This new tranche of aid includes, in particular, different types of ammunition because it is “what Ukraine needs most,” Minister Boris Pistorius told the Bild newspaper, on the eve of a meeting of Ukraine’s allies in Germany.

“The government has not yet decided whether to send Taurus cruise missiles,” the minister added.

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Ukrainian officials have been urging Germany for several months to hand over Taurus cruise missiles deemed necessary to repel the Russian army, amid a counteroffensive by Kiev troops.

“We are providing additional ammunition: explosive ammunition, mortar ammunition, anti-mine rockets,” Boris Pistorius told Bild newspaper.

This new tranche of aid will also include armored vehicles and mine clearance systems, as well as generators in preparation for winter, the minister added.

Regarding the Taurus missiles, Boris Pistorius stressed that “the duty of the entire federal government is to weigh each delivery of weapons very carefully. To do this, it is necessary to clarify a multitude of political, legal, military and technical aspects.”

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“It’s not easy,” he added. Among the outstanding questions is whether this type of weapon can be used without the support of Bundeswehr soldiers, the minister said.

Until now, Berlin has stalled on kyiv’s request, also fearing that the missiles will reach Russian territory and worsen the conflict.

During the German Foreign Minister’s visit to kyiv a week ago, her counterpart Dmytro Kouleba was annoyed by the German hesitations: “It’s just a matter of time. And I don’t understand why we are wasting time,” he declared, believing that Germany would end up giving the green light.

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Chancellor Olaf Scholz also faces political pressure in Germany, also in his coalition, to accept the supply of these missiles.

Since the start of the Russian invasion, Germany has been a major contributor to supporting Kiev, having provided some €22 billion to Ukraine in humanitarian, financial and military aid.

The country hosts on Tuesday, at the US military base in Ramstein (south), an international meeting under the auspices of the United States aimed at coordinating military aid from Ukraine’s allies.

The German minister will not be able to attend in person, according to Bild on Monday, because he is positive for Covid-19.

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