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Zelenskyy blasts Scholz’s reason for not sending German Taurus missiles

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sharply criticized German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for refusing to provide Kyiv with German-made Taurus cruise missiles and suggested the reluctance is based on his desire to keep the weapons for Berlin’s own defense against a threat from Russia.

“As far as I understand, the chancellor believes that, as he is a representative of a non-nuclear state, this is the only weapon that Germany has, is the most powerful one,” Zelenskyy said of the Taurus missiles in an interview with Axel Springer, POLITICO’s parent company. “He shared messages with me saying that he cannot leave his country without such a powerful weapon,” Zelenskyy added of Scholz.

Germany’s government, however, presents its public with quite different logic for not sending the weapons. Scholz has steadfastly refused to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine, saying in public statements that such a move could lead to an escalation of the war and could even draw Germany into direct conflict with Russia.

The Ukrainians want Germany’s Taurus missiles, which have a range of some 500 kilometers and carry a powerful warhead, to strike targets deep behind the frontlines, such as the Kerch Bridge linking Russia and occupied Crimea.

However, Zelenskyy’s comments — if Scholz has been fully understood — suggest there is a motivation the chancellor has not publicly uttered — or at least an explanation that Scholz may have been most comfortable providing to Zelenskyy: That Berlin needs the weapons to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from attacking Germany.

Zelenskyy said Scholz sees the Taurus missiles as a deterrent from a nuclear attack, though the president added he did not see the logic in this. “Any missiles,” he said, “will not protect a single person from nuclear strikes, if a nuclear war breaks out, God forbid.”

“It’s very important for people to know that you have something special, some special weapons. And if there is a war, it will be useful,” he added.

Scholz, however, has made a far different case to the German public, depicting himself as a leader who can provide aid to Ukraine without crossing lines that would lead to a wider war. Some politicians within his own center-left Social Democratic Party have referred to him as a “peace chancellor” for this approach.

Even as members of his own coalition government — along with leaders of the conservative opposition — have urged him to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine, Scholz has refused, arguing the move would provoke Russia.

“That is a line that I do not want to cross as chancellor,” Scholz said in March. “I have a responsibility to prevent Germany from becoming involved in this war.”

Scholz has also sought to argue that using Taurus missiles would require Berlin to deploy ground troops to Ukraine to help operate them — a view not shared by his top brass.

In his interview, Zelenskyy attacked not only Germany’s reluctance to send the missiles — but also the U.S.’s pace in allowing Ukrainian forces to use F-16 fighter jets and American-supplied ATACMS missiles.

“I always use logic in my steps, in my words and conclusions,” he said. “And I just don’t understand the logic behind it when, for example, one of our partners has weapons that Ukraine needs today in order to survive. And I don’t understand why they won’t provide it to us.”

Source: Politico

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