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Bundestag votes against Taurus missiles for Ukraine, supports sending ‘necessary long-range missiles’

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The German parliament held two votes on providing long-range weapons to Ukraine on Feb. 22, first rejecting a motion explicitly mentioning Taurus missiles, followed by supporting a motion calling for Germany to send additional long-range weapons.

Taurus missiles, which have a range of up to 500 kilometers (310 miles), have been the subject of extensive discussion since Ukraine submitted a request to acquire the weapons in May 2023.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is reportedly against sending Taurus missiles to Kyiv because he fears the move will draw Germany into the war. Ukraine has received other long-range missiles, such as the Storm Shadow from the U.K. and the French-made SCALP.

The motion, submitted by the opposition parties Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), called for the German government “to support Ukraine in the fight against Russia through the immediate delivery of requested weapon systems,” including Taurus missiles.

The motion received 181 votes in favor, 480 against, and five abstentions. The two parties previously submitted a similar motion in January, which had also been rejected.

All MPs belonging to the ruling coalition parties, namely Scholz’s Social Democratic Party, the Greens, and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), voted against the motion, except for one FDP MP, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann.

“Russia’s attack on Ukraine also applies to us. And it is time that we take this danger more seriously,” Strack-Zimmermann said. “I don’t want to be accused one day of not having done the right thing at the right moment.”

Hours later, a motion that called on Germany to deliver “additionally necessary long-range weapons systems and ammunition” to Kyiv received 382 votes in favor, 284 against, and two abstentions. The motion was submitted by the SDP, the Greens, and the FDP.

Read also: Ex-German president calls for Germany to deliver Taurus missiles to Ukraine

The motion on “10 years of Russian war against Ukraine” called for Germany to “provide military assistance to the extent necessary for the defense and restoration of Ukraine’s full territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

The motion called for Germany to deliver additional long-range weapons systems “to enable targeted attacks in accordance with international law on strategically relevant targets far in the rear area of the Russian aggressor.” It did not explicitly mention Taurus missiles.

Gabriela Heinrich, an MP from Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), said that the phrasing “does not necessarily” mean Taurus missiles. “It is a question of interpretation.”

Yehor Cherniev, the head of the permanent delegation of Ukraine’s parliament to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, said that the “long-range weapons” the text refers to are Taurus missiles, as Germany has no other such missiles.

“This is a coalition document, unlike the opposition, which was rejected earlier today,” Cherniev said.

The call to deliver long-range weapons was mentioned among the third point of 27 listed in the motion, before other points such as increasing Germany’s ammunition production capacity and supporting Ukraine’s reconstruction.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told reporters at the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 16 that there was no new information on the possible provision of Taurus missiles to Ukraine.

Responding to a question from the Kyiv Independent on the logic behind Berlin’s hesitancy, Pistorius said that “there is no new logic, everybody knows the arguments.”

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